SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Some Sacramento parking lots could soon serve as a solution for the city’s homeless who live out of their cars.
The city is considering opening them up as “safe zone lots” for homeless to park in overnight.
“Well, this is our home,” Michelle Lyons said.
Michelle Lyons and Michael Lamond are a family, who along with their dog “Lunky” are homeless and live in an RV, parked for now, under the WX freeway in downtown Sacramento.
“All I can say is, this is really hard, and it really sucks and we both hate it,” Lamond said.
They are two of the hundreds of homeless in Sacramento living in vehicles facing fines, fees, or tows from city streets.
Ray Mays lives in his car. Sacramento police had it towed, for illegal parking.
“I have nothing already, that car was going to give me a way to get out of here,” Mays said.
“We have a crisis, and we have to deal with it,” Sacramento Councilmember Jay Schenirer said.
A recent count found 400 people living in cars in Sacramento, including 200 families. Schenirer is an advocate for the city-sanctioned parking lots. San Diego, Santa Barbara and Seattle have already approved plans for their own homeless parking.
In Sacramento, the proposed lots could offer bathrooms, meals and social services for permanent housing.
“You do want an enclosed space, people would be led in, so it’s not just anyone could come in,” Schenirer said. “I think there’s security at the gates.”
A safe and legal place available for people living in their vehicles.
“Oh god yes, that would be so great, that would be really great,” Lamond said.
It’s no road out of Sacramento’s homeless crisis, but could it be a sign of hope, for those searching where to turn next?
“It’s hard on us,” Lyons said.
Schenirer says no particular parking lots have been identified for the program yet, but he’d like the first “safe zone lot” to open, by the end of the year.