The Santa Rosa City Council has approved Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa as the operator of the City’s new Safe Parking Pilot Program and has authorized funding to operate the program for two years. The program set to open in early 2022 will be located in a portion of a City-owned parking lot at 55 Stony Point Road and will provide up to 50 parking spaces in a managed site for community members who are currently living in their vehicles, including in cars, trucks, and RVs. Program participants will receive a safe place to park, basic services, and support services to help them obtain housing.
“The Safe Parking Pilot Program will provide immediate relief for community members who are living on our city streets in vulnerable and dangerous situations,” said Mayor Chris Rogers. “This program will help move participants into permanent housing and will be a significant step forward.”
Individuals who are living in their vehicles will be referred to the Safe Parking Pilot Program through the City’s Homeless Encampment Assistance Program and by Catholic Charities’ Homeless Services Outreach Team. The program will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on-site security will be provided, and participants will have access to basic services such as meals, portable toilets, handwashing stations, and showers. Wrap around services will also be provided to help participants access community resources such as referrals for behavioral health and drug treatment; and help to end their homelessness through housing navigation services.
Catholic Charities was one of two organizations that submitted proposals to operate the program through the City’s Request for Proposals process. At its Dec. 7 meeting, City Council approved the operator agreement for $1.3 million in first-year funding, with an option to extend for a second year, and authorized funding for the program for two years from the City’s General Fund and $2 million in one-time monies from the American Rescue Plan Act. Additionally, on Dec. 7, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved a $500,000 funding request from the City to provide wrap-around services for program participants.
On Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, the City will host a virtual community meeting for residents and businesses within the Safe Parking Pilot program area and all other interested parties who would like to learn more about the program and provide input. Details to participate in the informational, community meeting will be posted on the City’s website as soon as they are available, and additional information on the program, including the site map and FAQs, is available now at srcity.org/SafeParking.