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Safe Parking and Vehicle Dwelling

Safe Parking

Safe parking is the idea of offering safe parking options to homeless individuals who live in their vehicles. According to a January 2016 LA County Homelessness Count, the number of persons living in cars and RVs is over 7,100 in the City of LA and 12,200 in the County of LA, representing approximately 25% of the LA County Homeless population. (Source: Safe Parking LA: About.) LAHSA provides a breakdown by Council District of vehicles used as dwellings.

Safe Parking LA is an example of a nonprofit that works with vehicle dwellers looking for a safe place to park or other assistance. Their model is based on the work of New Beginnings Counseling Center in Santa Barbara. Parking lot owners may also reach out to Safe Parking LA if they would like to participate in LA’s Safe Parking program: info@safeparkingla.org.

In the Harbor Area, two safe parking lots have been approved. One is a trial program of five parking spaces at Temple Beth El at 1435 W. Seventh St. The other is a private lot at 14000 S. Figueroa St. The start date of each safe parking lot remains to be determined, as funding is yet to be secured fully. (Source: Safe Parking LA.)

See also: Safe Parking Pilot Program Framework (LA City).

Vehicle Dwelling: LA City

The LA City Council Homelessness and Poverty Committee has extended vehicle dwelling limitations to January 1, 2019 under Los Angeles Municipal Code 85.02. The basic provisions of 85.02 are explained as follows by lacity.org:

Living in a vehicle (vehicle dwelling) is prohibited at all times within one block (500 feet) of licensed schools, pre-schools, daycare facilities, or parks.

Persons may live in a vehicle:

Daytime Hours – between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. – more than one block (500 feet) away from licensed schools, pre-schools, daycare facilities, or parks;

Nighttime Hours –  between  9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. – in non-residentially zoned areas which are more than one block (500 feet) away from licensed schools, pre-schools or daycare facilities or parks.

Vehicle Dwelling: LA County

The LA County Board of Supervisors approved an August 7, 2018 motion “Implementing Sustainable Solutions to Assist People Living in Vehicles.” authored by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl. Among other actions, the motion aims to:

  • Incentivize the voluntary turnover of hazardous or substandard RVs (Sec. 1b).
  • Implement a solid waste and household hazardous waste pilot program (Sec. 1c).
  • Request a recommendation on proceeding with safe parking programs on county-owned property (Sec. 3).
  • Identify funding for safe parking (Sec. 4).
  • Determine cost of waste collection for people living in vehicles (Sec. 5).
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