Santa Clara County looking for additional ‘safe parking’ lots for homeless

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SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KRON) — There are already a few parking lots available for people living in their RVs and cars to park overnight, two of them in San Jose.

But the county said they need more to assist the amount of people now calling their RV their home.

“Oh I would love that,” Marybeth Beam said. “Definitely.”

Beam moved to San Jose a few years ago — and has been homeless, living in an RV for the past five months.

She said if she could park in a safe lot overnight, she’d feel more comfortable and secure.

“I think it would be a lot safer so you won’t be harassed and constantly worrying about if they’ll tow your life,” she said. “This is my life.”

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors is working to find parking lots throughout the county that would be open to allowing people living in their cars and RVs to park overnight.

Supervisor Joe Simitian proposed the idea and said the county must do more to support the residents in need.

He said over the past five years, the number of people in the county living in their car has increased significantly.

“Each one of these folks is a story,” Simitian said. “We’ve got families with kids who are living in their cars, we’ve got folks in their 80s, men and women who are vulnerable out there living on the streets in their cars — many of them think ‘well at least I got some shelter and some mobility’ but it’s far from ideal as I say and I think we can and should do better.”

On South 7th Street and Phelan Avenue, RVs are lined up and down the street.

“It’s rough out here, you know, it’s rough out here,” Tammy Nickle said. “It’s cold. It’s really cold.”

The board of supervisors plan to identify parking lots this spring and said they hope to provide assistance to people who join the safe parking program to move them out of their cars and eventually into permanent housing.

“All they need is a little bit of help,” Nickle said. “It goes a long way.”

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