SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The City of San Diego is hoping to ease the burden of homeless individuals living in their cars. The safe parking lot in Mission Valley is now open 24 hours.
“It's a godsend,” says resident Thomas Cummings. “If it wasn’t for this program, I don’t know where we’d be.
Cummings and his significant other, Leslie Monks, have been living out of their trailer for several years. The couple says it's been a challenge but the safe lot in Mission Valley allows them to breathe a little easier.
“I don’t have to worry about people going into my stuff and ripping me off,” says Cummings. “If we both need to go see a doctor or something, I can leave the trailer here and don’t have to worry about it.”
The city council approved the expansion of the safe parking program. It is expected to run until at least June 2023.
“It’s nice to have it open 24 hours,” says Leslie Monks. “They have restrooms; the office is there for whatever we need.”
“Previously all of these lots were open from 6 pm to 7 am every day,” says Mayor Todd Gloria. “But requiring people to leave a 7 a.m. and come back at 6 p.m. makes it impossible for some folks to take advantage of this important program.”
The program is operated by Jewish Family Service San Diego and the lot sits not far from the new Snapdragon Stadium. It's located near the intersection of Friars Road and Mission Village Drive.
There are two similar safe parking lots located in Kearny Mesa.
“I’ve seen firsthand how the Safe Parking program is impactful in addressing the needs of our unsheltered individuals and families,” says City Council member Raul Campillo.
The city says the program has served nearly 2,200 households. About 650 individuals or families have been connected directly from the program to permanent housing, shelter, or family reunification.