San Francisco is moving forward with plans to establish a dedicated parking lot for homeless people living in their cars, according to local media.
Free bathrooms, showers, and other services will be offered at a “triage lot” near the Balboa Park BART station where the homeless can park vehicles such as vans or RVs.
“Officials hope to replicate this one-year pilot program, if it’s successful, in other areas of the city, where people are increasingly using their vehicles for shelter,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “The city’s most recent survey of the homeless showed that 35% of unsheltered homeless people lived in vehicles, up from 13% in 2015.”
The overall homeless population of the city has reportedly exploded by 30 percent since 2017.
“When we have this option, we can say to people, ‘we have an option for you’ and ‘where you are right now is not safe,’” said Supervisor Ahsha Safaí. “And they can say yes or no. And if they say no, they will not necessarily be able to stay where they are.”
Officials are reportedly working to have the lot operational by winter, with an affordable housing complex to be built on the site shortly after.
Recent projects to accommodate the city’s urgent homeless crisis have included a planned 200-bed shelter in the upscale Embarcadero district, which has drawn heavy protest from locals.
San Francisco workers recently began a trend of setting up desks in parking spots in an effort to demonstrate that too much prime real estate is being dedicated to cars.
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