After years of planning and false starts, San Jose is finally poised to launch a “safe parking” initiative for people living out of their cars. The City Council on Tuesday will consider a $250,000 contract with LifeMoves, a homeless services nonprofit, to run the program through June next year.
The proposal first came to the council in 2014 in response to a growing number of people living in the cars and RVs. In 2015, an initial request for proposals drew zero responses. A second try resulted in an award being granted, but the program failed to launch because of permitting challenges.
Last year, the council added safe parking to its list of top policy priorities; in March this year, Mayor Sam Liccardo budgeted $3 million in one-time funding for homeless strategies that included a parking program.
The 2017 biennial homeless census counted 4,350 unhoused people in San Jose. Of those, 74 percent reported living out of their vehicles, on the streets, in illegal encampments or in abandoned storage facilities.
LifeMoves submitted a proposal to operate a safe parking program on an unused overflow parking lot by the Seven Trees Community Center, 3590 Cas Drive. The program would operate 12 hours a day, from 7pm to 7am, each day of the week. Participants would have access to the center’s bathrooms during business hours. All vehicles must leave the premises each morning and can’t return until the program time commences in the evening.
LifeMoves would offer basic supplies and cleanup in addition to case management, employment opportunities and housing placement services.
Mayor Liccardo joined council members Chappie Jones, Dev Davis, Sylvia Arenas and Tam Nguyen in authoring a memo about the need for short-term solutions as a bridge to permanent housing.
“Given that over 100 families with children were counted in the last homeless census, prioritizing the safety of those families is paramount,” they stated. “While sleeping in one's vehicle in a parking lot is not the homelessness solution we should all ultimately strive for, the Housing Department's proposed safe parking pilot is an opportunity to give families with a young child a safe place to park overnight, use of clean restrooms and showers, and, most importantly, access to critical LifeMoves services such as housing placement that will put those families on a track to being permanently housed.”
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: Click here to read the full agenda; City Clerk, 408.535.1260