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Coalition Supports Safe Parking

Coalition Supports Safe Parking

Safe Parking

The 5Cities Homeless Coalition is partnering with Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in a pilot program to provide safe overnight parking for those homeless who must sleep in their vehicles. 

Based on a successful program in Santa Barbara County, the new program is the first in San Luis Obispo County. Recently approved unanimously by the Planning Commission and City Council of Arroyo Grande as a temporary use permit for a six-month trial, the program will permit up to three vehicles to park overnight in the church parking lot in Arroyo Grande.

Check-in will be 9 pm with departure by 7 am the following morning. Potential participants in the program must be first processed by a case worker at Community Health Centers (another 5CHC partner) and then approved by the Arroyo Grande Police Department.  Only then will a permit be issued for overnight parking. There are strict rules for those parking. To protect both the sleepers and the surrounding community, no outdoor cooking is permitted, and no laws may be broken.  A portable toilet and drinking water is provided at the site. Any violation of the list of rules may result in immediate loss of parking privileges and departure. The city approval followed a year of planning including visits to successful sites in Santa Barbara County, as well as consultation with city offices and officials. 

All those living in the church neighborhood were invited to a meeting at Saint Barnabas to discuss the pros and cons of the proposal. After addressing neighborhood concerns in the rules, the project was brought to the city for approval. There were both negative and positive comments presented, but the final vote was 5 to 0 in favor. 

The project will be closely monitored, particularly at the beginning, to minimize impacts on the community.