Successful program provides people experiencing homelessness with safe space to sleep overnight
SAN DIEGO – The City Council on Monday, March 20 unanimously approved a plan proposed by Mayor Todd Gloria to open a new safe parking lot in the Clairemont neighborhood that will include live-in-ready camper trailers as well as free, safe parking for people who sleep overnight in their vehicles.
“During the past two years, the City of San Diego has added dramatically to the range of options available for folks to get off the streets and on a path to housing,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “With today’s City Council approval, we’re now ready to create yet another safe place for unsheltered residents to stay while case managers help them connect to a permanent home.”
Specifically, the City Council approved a proposal by the city’s Homelessness Strategies and Solutions Department to amend a contract with Jewish Family Service of San Diego to operate the new lot, located near the City’s Rose Canyon Operations Yard.
The lot will operate 24 hours a day and provide a safe place for unhoused residents to sleep overnight in their vehicles, with access to resources to help participants on their path to housing, including employment assistance, credit repair, financial education and more.
“Homelessness is a healthcare crisis in San Diego, and as a family physician, I support every program that can help homeless individuals find permanent housing,” said City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell, whose council district includes the location of the parking lot. “The Safe Parking Lots are among the most successful of the City’s homelessness solutions. The new trailers and parking spaces at the Rose Canyon Safe Parking Lot will help our unhoused families get the services they need. I welcome the newest Safe Parking Lot to District 2.”
In addition to providing 15 spaces for parking, the site includes 12 camper trailers for Safe Parking participants to live in as they work to end their homelessness. The trailers come equipped with beds, showers and bathrooms. The trailers were donated to cities by the State of California as part of its emergency response to the homelessness crisis.
Jewish Family Service of San Diego will now operate four Safe Parking lots under contract with the city. Combined, the four lots provide space for up to 233 households sleeping overnight in vehicles and now 12 camper trailers. The new lot is anticipated to cost $474,000 through the end of June and approximately $975,000 annually.
“Those who participate in the Safe Parking Program are our neighbors, most of whom have entered into homelessness for the first time and need a safe place to stay and resources so they don’t fall further into the downward spiral of homelessness,” Jewish Family Service CEO Michael Hopkins said. “Closer to the coastal communities than the city’s existing locations, the Rose Canyon lot will be the second lot to be open 24 hours and helps grow the geographic reach of the program, enabling people experiencing homelessness throughout the city to stay safe and connected to services that will help them find more stable housing.”
Funding for the new lot includes $1.03 million from the County of San Diego’s Capital Emergency Housing Solutions Grant Program to support one-time startup and capital expenses to prepare the site for program operations.
The opening of the Rose Canyon site is part of Mayor Gloria’s comprehensive strategy to address homelessness. Last year, the city expanded the Safe Parking Program to 24-hour operation at one of the three existing lots for the first time and opened new shelters for women, seniors and those with chronic behavioral health issues. The Mayor also recently announced plans to open a shelter for families at a former motel in Barrio Logan.
To learn more about the Safe Parking Program, visit the Homelessness Strategies and Solutions webpage at https://www.sandiego.gov/homelessness-strategies-and-solutions/services/safe-parking-program.
(City of San Diego Release)