San Mateo County leaders seek to implement a safe parking program for those who live in cars along the shoreline

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) — Leaders are working to dedicate a spot on the coast of San Mateo County where homeless people living in their vehicles can park.

San Mateo County, Half Moon Bay and the nonprofit WeHOPE are working on the project with leaders exploring sites from Montara to Half Moon Bay.

Alicia Garcia, COO of WeHOPE, said there is no secure parking program on the San Mateo coast and they are looking to change that.

Garcia said the location of the parking lot would help homeless people get back on the path to self-sufficiency more quickly.

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She said vehicular homeless people are often moved for various issues, such as being diagnosed with a health condition. She said they can be single, couple or family.

“It’s the families with kids in the community who are trying to keep their kids in the school system, and so they stay parked nearby, so they can still get their kids to school,” Garcia said. “A lot of them are workers who live there in their cars because they can’t pay the rent, but they want to live as close to their jobs as possible. And so we really try to help those people. to rebuild their lives so they can stay in the community when possible.

Garcia said it’s hard to help the homeless when they’re scattered and you have to find them. She said having them in one place helps meet their needs.

“We can provide full case management,” Garcia said. “We can make sure they get coordinated assessments from the entry system, which puts them in the housing pool for the good guys and that can really be transformative for these families.”

Garcia said there would be a full-time security guard on site.

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Additionally, Half Moon Bay City Manager Matthew Chidester said services provided include social support, bathrooms, showers, laundry and meal services.

Chidester said it can help the transition from homeless to permanent housing.

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Redwood City has a similar program for those who live in RVs. The city’s website says that of 98 households that joined, 52 moved into permanent housing through the program. More than half are on the way to permanent housing.

Garcia, they secured approximately $965,000 in funding for it, which includes a grant from San Mateo County.

Garcia said they would like to have this secure parking program in place by March.

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