CAPSLO parking program becoming permanent

October 28, 2014

capsloThe Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo’s practice of allowing select homeless individuals to sleep in vehicles overnight at the Prado Day Center is becoming a permanent city-sanctioned program, despite fading interest among the homeless population. [Tribune]

The San Luis Obispo Planning Commission voted recently to convert the safe parking program from a two-year pilot venture to a permanent practice. The commission also voted to increase the number of parking spaces allowed from five to seven.

However, only one of the spaces is currently occupied, CAPSLO’s deputy director Grace McIntosh said.

When city staffers constructed the safe parking program, they modeled it off one in Santa Barbara that provides spaces for more than 100 cars. But, unlike the Santa Barbara program, CAPSLO requires clients to turn over a large percentage of income to gain permission to sleep in their vehicles.

CAPSLO staff says, in turn, that it helps clients find permanent housing.

In the first year of the program, 13 households enrolled and four found housing, according to CAPSLO statistics.

In 2012, a homeless outreach coordinator with the Santa Barbara program told CalCoastNews that it is wrong to require homeless participants to sign over income.

“These people are living on $1,000 a month, and you don’t take money from these people,” Nancy Kapp said. “It’s highway robbery and wrong.”

A city ordinance currently restricts all individuals and organizations, except for CAPSLO, from letting the homeless sleep in vehicles on their property.

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I could understand a small fee to park there ($2-$5), which could then go into a fund to help with a rental deposit- but to require them to turn over all their finances is ridiculous. Churches and a local synagogue provide cots, a place for children to study, and breakfast in the morning for NO CHARGE to the homeless or funds or grants from the taxpayers. Next time someone vilifies the churches or the synagogue please remember these selfless acts of kindness. They also distribute food to everyone without requiring documentation. That is how it should be. When government agencies like CAPSLO assume control for solving social problems, they just seem to get worse. The only ones really being helped are the CAPSLO employees.