Safe Park 2017-10-31T16:10:38+00:00

Help Us Bring Hope and Safety to Family Units Living in their Vehicles

Faith communities desire to respond to the growing reality that individuals, couples and families from our local communities are sleeping in their vehicles as the only option for housing.

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

SafePark Process

  1. A family calls the Housing Solution Hotline at 360-695-9677.
  2. An intake is completed and a background check is completed for everyone in the family over 18 years of age.
  3. Our volunteer coordinator is notified of new placements.
  4. A volunteer is present at the first arrival to provide a parking permit.
  5. Guests can arrive around 7pm and depart before 8:00am.

A Few SafePark 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.

Volunteers are asked to serve on an on-call basis and mostly serve then there are new guests to check-in and to drop by the site on a few times per week to check on guests and make sure they are staying safe.

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.

Every guest works with us to build an Action Plan. As long as guests are working their Action Plan, they are welcome to stay in the program.  This includes abiding by the Code of Conduct and meeting with our program case management officers. Remember this a transitionary program designed to help guests transition to stable housing.

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.

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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

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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.

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Suggestions

  • 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
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Go Connect is proud to offer SafePark

Safe Parking is a unique program for the faith community. It is virtually illegal to park overnight anyplace but at a church parking lot.
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