COUNTY EXTENDS SAFE PARKING EFFORT
SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to extend funding for safe parking services, helping to preserve nearly 200 safe parking spaces nightly across the County through June 2022.
“I’m pleased to see these programs continued,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who championed an effort with local partners in March of 2020 to identify “A Whole Lotta Lots” for safe parking in Palo Alto and Mountain View. There are now roughly 120 such spaces in these cities, with capacity for roughly 100 spaces in Mountain View alone. “Regrettably, the need is still there,” said Simitian.
“Our partners in these cities, including government officials, local residents and businesses, faith communities, and nonprofits have been essential in making sure our most vulnerable residents have a safe place to sleep at night. This new funding commitment means we have the opportunity to continue these great partnerships,” Simitian added.
In addition to a parking space, safe parking programs offer basic amenities like fresh water and restrooms, as well as case management through nonprofits Move Mountain View and Amigos de Guadalupe and their partners to help residents seek permanent housing. Project WeHope also provides onsite shower and laundry services.
"While it’s certainly not a long-term solution, safe parking provides residents with some measure of stability while they seek permanent housing,” said Simitian. “The goal is to move people through the program, out of the program, and into a better place.”
“Mountain View remains committed to working with the County to prevent homelessness and respond to the needs of the unhoused in our community,” said Mountain View Mayor Ellen Kamei. “The housing crisis is one that can only be solved if we bring all partners together and use every tool at our disposal to address it. This program represents exactly the type of collaboration that is needed.”
The County’s most recent Homeless Census from 2019 reported that 25% of unhoused residents in the North County (including Los Altos, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Sunnyvale) were living in vehicles – up from 21% in 2017. Another census is planned for early 2022.
Move Mountain View operations manager Michael Love said the stories he hears from clients confirm how important it is for unhoused residents living in vehicles to receive individualized care to help them transition to stable housing.
“All our clients have different stories and challenges that we honor and respect,” said Love. “No matter their experience, they all deserve shelter and a place to call home.”
Some stories of safe parking participants can be found at: https://www.mountainview.gov/depts/comdev/housing/homelessness/safe_parking_stories.asp.
As Simitian notes, “Safe parking sites aren’t ‘the answer’, but they’re part of the answer. And as we help people move up and on to a better situation, even a modest number of sites can help literally hundreds of families over the course of a year.”
More information about the program in North County can be found here: https://movemv.org/.