Safe Parking ProgramRelease Date: 2020-03-02
What is the Safe Parking Program?
The goal of a Safe Parking program is to provide a safe place to park overnight for individuals who are residing in their cars, with access to basic amenities, and provide connection to social service programs that will assist with a transition to permanent housing.
The Safe Parking program will provide much-needed support for people living in their vehicles. According to data collected by the Homeless Services Division, approximately 1,048 individuals in Long Beach reported living in their vehicle at some point during 2019. The success of this Safe Parking program could garner support for future expansion of the program by increasing the number of slots and creating similar programs throughout the city.
This model could be beneficial not only to people living in their vehicles, but also to neighborhoods that may be impacted by vehicular living due to limited access to restrooms and other amenities.
How did the program start?
In May Proposals 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released a Request for Proposals (RFP) the for a pilot Safe Parking program to be funded in the amount of $220,000 for over 12 months. Unfortunately, no proposals were received. In August 2019, Pastor Steven Richardson of Good News Church, at 1833 Harbor Avenue, approached the DHHS Homeless Services Division to assist in the provision of a Safe Parking program to be operated out of the church lot.
How many slots are available on the lot?
The lot can accommodate approximately 15 parking slots. However, the parking lot requires several infrastructure upgrades to be operational for the Safe Parking program and is in the final stages of construction. While Pastor Richardson finishes the lot, temporary accommodations will be made at the Multi-Service Center (MSC), effective Thursday, February 27, 2020.
Pastor Richardson will host a downsized version of the program (13 slots) until the parking lot at Good News Church is ready for service. DHHS is working collaboratively with the Development Services Department (DS) to support Pastor Richardson, ensuring the site meets required lighting, fencing and parking provisions that also meet ADA requirements.
How is the program funded?
Funding for a pilot Safe Parking program was secured through the State of California Fiscal Year 2019 funding for the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP). The City of Long Beach received a combined total of $12.4 million to support emergency homeless programs, including a Safe Parking pilot.
Pastor Richardson received support from the Mayor’s Fund to End Homelessness to pay for these costly infrastructure repairs ($40,000), that could not otherwise be paid by the HEAP funding designated for the site operations.
What are the hours of operation?
Clients can enter the lot between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. and must leave the following morning between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. Clients will need to vacate the lot during the day due to other operational needs at the MSC.
How are individuals and/or families experiencing homelessness being referred to the Safe Parking Program?
Referrals for the program will be screened and routed through the MSC to ensure that vehicles are registered, insured and are provided an overview of the program policies and procedures.
What other types of amenities and services will be available for clients?
The lot has space for restroom and hand washing provisions, and overnight security. The lot is ideally located near the MSC for quick facilitation of services, major transportation lines and other amenities.
The program will provide restroom and handwashing accessibility via portable toilets/washing stations that are in ADA compliance.
All program participants will be required to participate in case management, and progress toward case management goals must be demonstrated to continue participation in the program.
Are pets allowed?
Yes, pets are allowed.
What types of vehicles are allowed?
Most all types of vehicles are allowed with the exception of RVs. No RVs are allowed.
How long can clients participate in the Safe Parking Program?
Program participants will be allowed to reside in the program for up to 90 days for initial permits. Extensions may be granted on a case-by-case basis, provided verified evidence of a housing placement is pending.
Will there be security?
Yes, security staff will be on site one-half hour prior to, during and one-half hour post the operational hours of the program. Vehicles will not be allowed to park within a three block radius of the lot to minimize impacts to the local community. The provider will monitor for this, and violators of this rule will be warned; repeat violators will be exited from the program. There will be zero tolerance for substance use or acts of aggression at the site.
How long will the program exist for?
This is a pilot program for the City of Long Beach, which will likely be piloted six months to one year.
Who can I contact for more information?
For more information call the Multi-Service Center at 562.570.4500 or 562.570.4586