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San Diego County to launch safe parking lot for homeless in East County

Lot will be first of its kind in an unincorporated area
Posted at 6:38 AM, Aug 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-10 09:38:47-04

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) – San Diego County officials are working to address the homelessness issue in the East County with a new safe parking lot in El Cajon.

The lot will be located at North Magnolia Avenue and it is the first of its kind in an unincorporated part of East County.

“We have people living in their cars. We know they’re living in their cars, and they don’t have a safe place to go,” County Supervisor Joel Anderson said.

That’s a problem that Anderson is trying to solve. His office, along with the county Health & Human Services Agency, the county’s Homeless Solutions & Equitable Communities department, and a local nonprofit have found a solution.

“The area in which they’re going is in an unincorporated area of El Cajon, where we’ve had a terrible time with homelessness,” Anderson said.

The first safe parking lot in East County will allow 17 people to park their cars and stay overnight with security and hygiene stations to use.

“We took a terrible situation of tents; we will move families in, address their needs, allow their kids to continue to go to school, while they save enough money to find rent to move into a home,” Anderson said.

“This is a sorely needed, you know, emergency housing solution for East County,” said Bonnie Baranoff, who is with the East County Homeless Task Force.

Baranoff commended the county and its partners for finding a way to get this done and in quick fashion.

“This shows that when folks are collaborating across different agencies, they can make it happen. And they are. This is proof right?” Baranoff said.

The parking lot is progress in Anderson’s eyes.

“Is it 1,000 spaces? Of course not. But 17 families will now be addressed that weren’t addressed today. But this is just a steppingstone in the right direction.” Anderson said. “So, I’m glad to provide these 17 locations. But I hope to provide a lot more.”

Anderson said that the parking lot will not be a first come, first served situation. There will be a screening process for those how are referred to stay there.