SJ City Council Poised to Launch ‘Safe Parking’ for the Homeless

After years of planning and false starts, San Jose is finally poised to launch a “safe parking” initiative for people living out of their cars. The City Council on Tuesday will consider a $250,000 contract with LifeMoves, a homeless services nonprofit, to run the program through June next year.

The proposal first came to the council in 2014 in response to a growing number of people living in the cars and RVs. In 2015, an initial request for proposals drew zero responses. A second try resulted in an award being granted, but the program failed to launch because of permitting challenges.

Last year, the council added safe parking to its list of top policy priorities; in March this year, Mayor Sam Liccardo budgeted $3 million in one-time funding for homeless strategies that included a parking program.

The 2017 biennial homeless census counted 4,350 unhoused people in San Jose. Of those, 74 percent reported living out of their vehicles, on the streets, in illegal encampments or in abandoned storage facilities.

LifeMoves submitted a proposal to operate a safe parking program on an unused overflow parking lot by the Seven Trees Community Center, 3590 Cas Drive. The program would operate 12 hours a day, from 7pm to 7am, each day of the week. Participants would have access to the center’s bathrooms during business hours. All vehicles must leave the premises each morning and can’t return until the program time commences in the evening.

LifeMoves would offer basic supplies and cleanup in addition to case management, employment opportunities and housing placement services.

Mayor Liccardo joined council members Chappie Jones, Dev Davis, Sylvia Arenas and Tam Nguyen in authoring a memo about the need for short-term solutions as a bridge to permanent housing.

“Given that over 100 families with children were counted in the last homeless census, prioritizing the safety of those families is paramount,” they stated. “While sleeping in one's vehicle in a parking lot is not the homelessness solution we should all ultimately strive for, the Housing Department's proposed safe parking pilot is an opportunity to give families with a young child a safe place to park overnight, use of clean restrooms and showers, and, most importantly, access to critical LifeMoves services such as housing placement that will put those families on a track to being permanently housed.”

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: Click here to read the full agenda; City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Why is always the community rooms, libraries, parks, ballfields, and the Coyote Creek in District-7 that have to cater to the homeless. Let’s spread it around a bit. According to David Sykes, the City Manager, District-7 currently has twenty percent of the City’s 4,350 homeless within it’s boundaries. Arenas, Khamis, Rocha, Captain America and WonderWoman need to help us out. Right? … Tam? ….. Tam? … Bueler?

    • This is being set up at Bascom Community Center in District 6. And a bunch of churches are doing this – they decided not to wait for the City to start something like this so the churches started doing this months ago.

  2. A few dump stations located in existing city parks would help disperse the RV homeless/RV work commuter population.

    I know a few RV dwellers who RV camp 4 days a week while working in Silicon Valley. Drive by San Jose PD’s parking lot, it seems we have this available for Police Officers, A dump station at the PD?

  3. This will not work. These people want it the way they want it. No one is going to tell them what time to come and go. Good job Sam Dev and crew you have blundered once again. At least you didnt waste an opportunity to blow some tax dollars. These people will continue to camp on residential streets where they can do as they want with no rules. And the tow companies such as CIty Tow will continue to refuse to tow vehicles with 1996 registration tabs. Excellent!

  4. San José continues to waste taxpayer dollars to attract and retain; vagrants, modern-day gypsies, felons, illegal aliens, drug-addicts and other non-descript humanoids. City officials then continue to pour these precious finite taxpayer dollars into the coffers of the “Non-profits” who offer cutesy buzzwords such as, “wrap-around-services.”
    I contend these “Non-profits” are very profitable, pernicious predatory parasites. The “Non-profits” penetration into local government funding only serves to exacerbate the “Homeless umbrella” of the unfortunate people who, absent winning the “Lottery,” and or inheriting a windfall sum from a departed rich relative, will never be able to afford to live in San José and or the Bay-area without significant government subsidies. But, is this the goal of local Democratic Party leaders-increase the population of people feeding from the public through, make these people dependent upon this feeding protocol and thereby increase the census of people living in a geographical area to justify increasing government representation particularly in the Congress of the United States?
    It is very dangerous to our democracy when elected persons transform the “public treasury” into the “public trough.”
    As to the “Non-profits,” who really represent the metastasizing “Homeless Industrial Complex” of Agenda 21, I would recommend immediately defunding all of them.
    I also recommend changing the City Charter to fully eliminate the Housing Department of the City of San José.
    David S. Wall

    • People David, these are people. Maybe some are drug addicts or illegal aliens or felons, so what. You most likely have a family member that is a felon, or a drug addict, or an illegal alien, so the F what. Your family was an immigrant down the line like most people. Just knock off the name calling.. You sound ignorant, low class and selfish. Imagine yourself without a job, no money to pay rent and finding yourself without a home. No seriously, for moment put yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagine what it would feel like to know that the very city you live in you are judged so ignorantly that your life is so insignificant to most. What if your parents or siblings or someone that is near and dear to you, were homeless what will you say then? Would you like someone calling your mom and dad names and treating them like pariahs?
      Maybe you have money and don’t know what its like to live paycheck to paycheck, doing your best to take care of your family with little to no resources. Give it a rest and put that negative thinking and energy into something useful.

      Are you a native San Josean? If not then go back where you came from. How do you like that? Sounds horrible doesn’t it. I was born and raised her over 50 years ago and never once felt any indifference to the nonstop flood of people coming in and overcrowding this once peaceful, beautiful city. Never once did I feel i had the right to tell them to go back where they came from. Never once did I feel so territorial that I felt these people needed to live by my set of rules or rules different from my own. You are no better than the next person. Thank your lucky stars if you are one of THOSE people who have money and no worry regarding money. But just because you are that does not give you the right to

      Oh and I think this idea of Liccardo’s is ridiculous.

  5. David Wall – aren’t you the guy who dumped a bunch of dirt and trash in front of city council a few years back and were escorted out of City Hall?
    The City’s Housing Department is finally enforcing its housing ordinances and helping tenants when the landlord violates the law. Housing staff are doing a great job. And you obviously know nothing about non-profits who assist families. The people who are feeding at the public trough are the wealthy corporations (remember corporations are people) who charge high rents, or increase the rent of a good tenant suddenly by $600 a month (happened to a friend of mine). These same corporations charge high rents and then suck that money out of San Jose where it was earned and send it off to New York or even overseas. It is an extractive industry, pulling money out of the community to distant, unrelated locations. We need to keep the money recirculating in San Jose. Rent control can help keep that money here. There are solutions, Mr. Wall, but you are predisposed to say NO to everything.

  6. Why is it always District 7 that is chosen to house the homeless? Why not Willow Glen?
    If you really want to help these people, give them gas money to drive to Washington or Oregon where they can afford to live and be productive. They’re never going to be able to afford to live here. It’s probably cheaper to pay to send them away in the long run. And the ones that are mentally ill will never hold down jobs so that they can be productive members anyway so what’s the point? (bring back Agnews please).
    What type of services/incentive does the city offer to homeowners that struggle every month to pay their mortgages and taxes? Everything is so upside down here.
    I can’t even go to the Tully Road library or ride the bike trail behind it for fear of the large population of homeless living along the creek. It’s become The Jungle phase II and what makes things all the more annoying is that the police has been told to stand down and leave them alone. Now they get meals delivered six days a week and have mobile showers delivered to them. Distress 7 (yes that was intentional) needs a break. Move the homeless out of the creeks and out of our district. And don’t get me started on 2450 Senter Road…….

  7. @Susan Zuniga It’s easy to imagine life works better somewhere else, or in the past, or in the imaginary future. Sadly homelessness has grown everywhere. There is no magic “take them out of my sight” bus to nirvana. Here are newspaper articles on homelessness from Portland OR and Seattle WA. Maybe their citizens would like to send their homeless to us? and

    • That was just a suggestion mostly based on the fact that that’s where I’m probably going to have to live since I can’t afford to live here anymore.

  8. For those of us “lucky” enough to have bought homes here in 1978 at what is 5 cents on the dollar compared to today’s home prices, are also now older by some 40 years. Our age prohibits us to leave our homes due to the hefty increases in property taxes if we chose to do so. When people retire they no longer need to commute to work, they stay home. You can stay home in a community which gives you more land and home for the money. But we cant leave, we are stuck here. So we need to take care of our surroundings. The homeless encampments bring, trash, vermin, disease, and general blight. Our creeks and open land are clogged with human waste, trash, spoiled food and the like. I would like to move to a beautiful place absent the blight but am limited in my options to do so. Our city leaders need to lead and not be led by self preservationists, namely the non-profits which do nothing to help our tax paying residents and return little for dollars they receive. Also, Just Say “No” to Prop 10 and help the homeowner keep those protections which they have worked so hard for all or most of their lives.

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