Carp Town Council considering safe parking scheme for homeless people

Carpinteria City Council will consider passing a resolution today for a Safe Parking Pilot Program for temporary overnight vehicle parking on public city property for homeless drivers who live in and out of their vehicles.

The board will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the Chambers, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.

Staff recommends Council approve a resolution setting out the administrative procedures for the program and authorizing the City Manager to enter into an operating agreement with the New Beginnings Counseling Center for an amount not to exceed $94,000 and allocating a budget of $32,000 for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

“The city and other local agencies expend significant resources each year to address issues resulting from homelessness and strive to connect homeless people to resources; most importantly, housing resources,” staff said in their report to council.

The city works with various organizations and groups to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness who live in Carpinteria.

These collaborations include on-the-street outreach work led by County Public Health and Behavioral Wellness, CityNet and Good Samaritan, community volunteers who work alongside city code compliance staff and the enforcement, and policy/program level work to secure funding and organizational capacity to deliver programs that prioritize meeting housing needs, including related support services. This work also includes strategic planning to address homelessness in the region.

In 2019, the City of Carpinteria, along with other cities in Santa Barbara County and the County, approved the Phase ll Community Action Plan to Address Homelessness in Santa Barbara County.

“In recent years, as part of an annual report to City Council on homelessness, city staff have reported that, anecdotally, the number of people who are homeless and living in vehicles in Carpinteria has increased “said the staff.

“Based on these observations and complaints received by the city regarding people living in vehicles in public parking lots and streets, the council has requested the opportunity to receive information about the New Beginnings Safe Parking program.”

On March 22, 2021, the board received a presentation and directed that staff work with New Beginnings to find suitable location(s) to operate the program in Carpinteria and to identify suitable location(s) for 24-hour public restrooms .

City staff subsequently determined that to implement the guidance provided by council to identify appropriate locations to operate the safe parking program, administrative procedures and/or local bylaws would be required.

At its regular meeting on August 8, 2022, the board received a report on options for proceeding with a secure parking program, including how the program is being operated by New Beginnings in other jurisdictions in Santa Barbara County. . The board directed that, in part, administrative procedures and an operating agreement be prepared to support the establishment of a two-year pilot program.

“The purpose of this agenda item is to provide City Council with an opportunity to establish a secure parking pilot program for the temporary overnight parking of vehicles on public property in the Town of Carpinteria,” said said the staff.

The New Beginnings Safe Parking program has been successful in meeting the need for a safe place to sleep at night for people who are homeless and living out of their vehicles, as well as coordinating with Santa County’s Coordinated Entry System Barbara.

New Beginnings operates secure parking programs in the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Lompoc, and parts of unincorporated Santa Barbara County.

The program structure includes:

  • The spaces made available on each lot range from five to 10.
  • Participants enter lots after 7:00 p.m. and leave before 7:00 a.m.
  • Driver’s license, registration and insurance required.
  • People assigned to the batches according to the type of batch and vehicle and the needs.
  • The program is first come, first served with a waiting list.
  • Parking only, no gathering in lots.
  • Bathrooms are available or provided via porta-potties.
  • Garbage, animal droppings, loud music, and cooking outside are examples of non-tolerated activities.
  • Participants are prohibited from parking within three blocks of a lot during the day.
  • Lots are guarded by traveling New Beginning employees throughout the night and morning.
  • Instructors provide support to participants in several ways.
  • A monthly monitoring report is provided to the city.
  • Each participant is required to renew their permit and review/update their housing plan monthly.

Passing the resolution would establish the Safe Parking Pilot Program for a two-year term beginning once a lot is approved and operational.

“The creation of a safe parking pilot program as part of the city’s response to homelessness in Carpinteria can be deemed consistent with the city’s interest in promoting public health and safety,” said the personal.

In other matters, staff recommends that council approve a consulting services agreement between the city and Equity Praxis Group for assistance with the city’s racial justice, equity and social program for an amount not to exceed not $108,202.

On June 8, 2020, the council passed a resolution committing the city to working with law enforcement to strengthen community-oriented policing, build trust with the community, and ensure the safety of all community members; review and revise city policies to incorporate anti-racist policies into city government and ensure the equitable distribution of public resources and services; and collaborate with, support and amplify minority-owned businesses, community groups and non-profit organizations within the city and the wider community.

The council then formed an ad hoc Racial Equity and Social Justice Program Planning Committee to seek out and recommend to the council a consultant to help the city implement its resolution; work with the consultant to develop a process, timeline and budget for this work; and further define the role of a subsequent committee comprised of Board members and community stakeholders.

Equity Praxis Group submitted a proposal that addresses the city’s need for support in developing and implementing a racial equity and social justice program, staff said. Equity Praxis Group describes itself as a mission-driven consulting practice that supports organizations, communities and individual leaders in advancing diversity, inclusion, equity and justice. The group has a team of 12 consultants, researchers and facilitators with a combined experience of over 500 years in the areas of diversity, inclusion, equity and justice.

email: [email protected]