From Michael Hopkins, CEO, Jewish Family Service of San Diego
Since October 2017, the City of San Diego has contracted with Jewish Family Service of San Diego to run the Safe Parking Program, operating two lots in District 6 in Kearny Mesa as safe, secure and legal places for people to sleep in their cars and work toward permanent housing.
The program has a total of 120 parking spots available for those living in their cars between the two lots. On average, the program serves more than 90 cars and 150 people each night, including working families with young children and low-income older adults.
Importantly, in addition to offering a safe place to sleep, Jewish Family Service’s Safe Parking Program provides comprehensive person-centered services delivered by housing specialists and case managers who help participants move out of their vehicles and into permanent stable housing.
Since October 2017, the program has served over 1,000 individuals. More than 40% of individuals who have exited the program have moved into permanent housing, transitional housing or significantly bettered their circumstances.
For most program participants, this is the first time they have found themselves homeless. Many have some source of income, and with targeted assistance from our experienced staff, are able to get back into stable housing.
JFS leverages private philanthropic support to offer all Safe Parking Program participants food assistance, benefits assistance, career coaching, financial literacy, parenting classes, and activities and services for children.
We look forward to expanding to a third lot with the City in June, which will accommodate up to 101 vehicles, a combination of cars and RVs, per night in District 7.