City of San Jose approves contract for safe parking pilot program

ByAmanda del Castillo via KGO logo
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
EMBED <>More Videos

Homeless advocates in the South Bay say the City of San Jose is taking a step in the right direction.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Homeless advocates in the South Bay say the City of San Jose is taking a step in the right direction.

On Tuesday evening, city council unanimously approved a contract to allow homeless families with young children to park overnight at Seven Trees Community Center in South San Jose. The program will cost $250,000 to operate for nine months.

Program operators at Life Moves, already provide interim housing and homeless support to families and individuals.

RELATED: New Oakland program designed to keep people housed

"Our ultimate mission is to return people to sustainable housing," Life Moves Senior Director, Marc Sabin, told ABC7 News. "That can be done with people that are in our shelters, with people who we work with on the streets, and now we're going to be working with people who are taking their vehicles to a safe environment."

Sabin said Life Moves is aiming to serve up to 17 families through the pilot program. He said Seven Trees is a community that has already shown a real need for the service.

"Seven Trees is an area where there are families currently living in their vehicles- sometimes in the parking lot we're going to be using," he said. "So, it just seemed like a neighborhood in need."

Ragan Henninger, San Jose's deputy director of housing said, "Life Moves won a competitive process to serve families through the program."

She told ABC7 News the City of San Jose is looking forward to having another tool in its toolbox to address the homeless crisis.

RELATED: San Francisco Portola residents fed up with RVs on street

"We look forward to starting this program November First and serving families who are in crisis," Henninger said.

Karen Gillette with Winter Faith Collaborative, another homeless advocacy group providing safe parking to those in need, said Winter Faith is already operating 11 safe parks around San Jose.

Besides the amount of money needed to fund the new pilot program, Gillette shared another concern surrounding location information being shared with the public.

"For the safety for the people that are residing in the parking lot overnight, we don't want everybody in the community to know that they're there," she said.

"There are some elements of gangs, or you know, people like that who will possibly come in and prey on people when they know where they are kind of vulnerable at night," Gillette continued. "So, that's something we don't announce... and they've announced it."