Community Needs : Family Support Services, Homelessness, Mental Health
This grant will pay for lot insurance and sanitation stations for 25 new parking spaces, direct financial assistance to clients, and a half-time staff person to manage Safe Parking Program operations and expansion.
Thirty-three percent of all homeless individuals in Santa Barbara County are sleeping in their vehicles. Many participants have experienced catastrophic financial events, leaving them with nothing but a vehicle. Approximately one-third are employed, one-third are seniors and 13% are families with children.
New Beginnings Counseling Center has addressed vehicular homelessness for 15 years by providing shelter to more than 150 individuals and families each night in 26 monitored lots. Parking lot monitors conduct rounds to ensure safety, facilitate connections with outside agencies to help participants obtain housing as well as find employment. The program also provides financial assistance to help clients pay for essential expenses such as food, gas cards, car repairs, and medical bills. Typically, it takes 6-18 months for clients in the Safe Parking Program to transition to housing. Since 2004, NBCC has successfully helped 1,000 program participants find permanent housing.
The Safe Parking Program addresses the needs of an overlooked and underserved population by providing a protected place where people living in cars can find shelter and support services while they seek stable housing.