Community in Crisis

‘Safe Parking’ site for San Jose’s homeless living in RVs may close down

Bay Area

SAN JOSE (KRON) — In San Jose, a pilot program that provides “Safe Parking” for the homeless is coming under scrutiny and now one of three safe parking sites may have to be shut down.

The city is convinced the safe parking program is working but because of crime and gang issues,  the particular site across from the seven trees community center is just not a good fit for families with children and it’s days appear to be numbered. 

The “Life Moves” safe parking lot at Coz Drive and Los Arboles Street across from the Seven Trees Community Center is in an area that has been plagued off and on by crime and gang issues in recent years.  

The location is just not a good fit for homeless families with children, according to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

“It’s clear we need to move the families who are at seven trees into motel rooms which are a much safer place for them to be,” the mayor said.

Opened in November, the Seven Trees and also at Roosevelt and Southside Community Centers, the safe parking lots are available from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.  

Advocates point out the crime problems predate the safe parking program.

Despite worries about the Seven Trees site safe parking works, the mayor says.

“It is working for singles and couples who are at Roosevelt and Southside where we know this is providing a safe respite for folks who need some place to stay and we have support services to help them find jobs and help them get back on their feet,” Liccardo said.

It’s not clear how many homeless people are living in RV’s and other vehicles and parking on city streets.  

Somewhat puzzling is the fact that all three of the safe parking sites have so far been underutilized.  

The city council is considering a recommendation from staff to expand the city’s motel voucher program to include eligible families who have been spending nights at Seven Trees.

“In the near term we are moving families out of this location into motel rooms  They’ll be better off and we’ll continue to operate this location until we can find a better location,” Liccardo said.

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