Help Us Bring Hope and Safety to Families Living in their Vehicles
Over 300 family units have been identified as living in their vehicles within the first few months of 2017. As parents strive to care for their family they are faced with the problem of having a place to park their vehicle safely and legally. County code states that people cannot reside in parking lots overnight, even private parking lots.
Luckily, State and Federal permits faith communities to use their property (including parking lots) and their resources to carry out their mission. Church parking lots are one of the only places where people can park and stay overnight legally. No, Locally Walmart does not allow it anymore.
We are supporting congregations who are opening their parking lots who are offering hospitality to those living in their cars. Our solution is simple. Local churches opening their parking lots to families who are living transitionally out of their vehicles.
The Solution is SafePark
- A family calls the Housing Solution Hotline at 360-695-9677.
- An intake is completed and a background check is completed for everyone in the family over 18 years of age.
- Our volunteer coordinator is notified of new placements.
- A volunteer is present at the first arrival to provide a parking permit.
- Guests can arrive around 7pm and depart before 8:00am.
A Few Questions – More Questions
We ask that there are at least pairs of volunteers at any given time. Some times this will not be possible due to schedule conflicts or the like.
Churches who have preschools can feel comfortable with program as guests arrive after the school ends and they leave the property before school starts. If they choose be on the property during the day, the church simply calls our phone number and we will come and speak with the guest. This is a violation of the Code of Conduct, therefore they will be at risk of losing their program privileges.
Any partner of the program is not obligated in any way. There are costs associated with the program, however. Costs such as a full-time case worker, a half-time volunteer coordination, portable toilets, gas cards, administrative costs, etc. We will not turn anyone away if they want to help and cannot help cover the expenses. We do welcome financial partnership as well.
Each day a volunteer shift will look like this:
- At 6:45 PM, the volunteer will be at the host site to welcome guests and intake new guests. This shift will last from 1 to 2 hours, depending on the need.
- The volunteer will drive by the site at around 10pm to make sure everything looks good. This will take anywhere from 2 minutes and up after the volunteer arrives on the site. The time depends on what is going at the site at the time.
- At 6:45 AM, the volunteer will be at the host site to say good morning and send off the quests by 7:30 or 8am. This shift will last from 1 to 2 hours, depending on the need.
This program should fit under current liability coverages that your church has. We have never seen a case where a church had to increase their own liability insurance. The program has a million dollar liability coverage, should that be required. Each guest and volunteer will also sign a waiver to be on the property.
As long as guests are in a program to move to permanent housing and doing everything necessary to obtain permanent housing, they are welcome to stay in the program. This includes abiding by the Code of Conduct and meeting with our program case management officers.
This program should have a very light impact on current staff and church programming. The program is self-sufficient with the volunteer structure. The highest impact will be in the evening, the program could be running during evening events. So depending on parking lot structure, you could be affected. Our hope is that the program would have a minimal impact on the church.
Benefits of Partnership
- Heightened awareness of homelessness
- Goodwill in the community
- Provide congregation opportunity for service and outreach
- Engaging with the Great Commandment
- Build and strengthen community relations
Ways to Help
- Expanding the vision of caring for the community
- Create connections between faith communities and the public
- Recruit a few volunteers to serve
- Help with funding and other resources.
- Help to pay for Portable Toilets, Liability Insurance, Case Management, Volunteer Coordination, Administrative Costs, Etc.
- Provide Sack Lunches (optional)
- Help to print promotional materials
- On-site volunteers for check in and security