The Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church provides a “safe parking lot” for up to 10 cars each night behind the church. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

The Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church provides a “safe parking lot” for up to 10 cars each night behind the church. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Everett OKs $25,000 to create safe parking lot for homeless

The spaces aim to provide a more secure environment for people who are sleeping in their cars.

EVERETT — The city of Everett is moving forward with a “safe parking lot” for families living in vehicles.

It would be the first sanctioned lot of its kind in the city and will be run in partnership with faith-based groups. The spaces aim to provide a safer environment for people who are sleeping in their cars.

About a third of the unsheltered people — folks sleeping outdoors — surveyed in Snohomish County’s 2018 Point-in-Time count were staying in a vehicle.

“We’re trying to set up and fill in a hole in the service family,” said Jim Dean, executive director of the Interfaith Association for Northwest Washington, which runs a family shelter in Everett.

“There are already people living in cars in the neighborhoods,” Dean added. “When someone gets rousted we want some place for them to go.”

Interfaith is taking the lead on the project, which also is being supported by members of Everett Faith in Action, a network of local leaders. The group has been working to create a safe parking program since last year.

“My hope is by May 1 we can get people parking,” Dean said.

On Wednesday, the Everett City Council approved a $25,000 grant for a safe parking pilot program. A little less than half of that money will go to setting up the site — adding fencing, garbage pickup and a portable toilet — according to Dean. The rest will pay for case management for residents provided by Interfaith.

“We don’t want people to stay and live in the parking lot for two years,” Dean said. “We want this to be a pathway into a home.”

The goal is to move families to a shelter or permanent housing as quickly as possible, said Kari Goepfert, a spokesperson for Everett, in an email.

The pilot has funding and the case management, but it’s missing a crucial piece — a location. Dean said he is in talks with several area churches that have expressed interest in hosting.

The grant will not become final until a plan for operations and public outreach is completed and reviewed by the city, Goepfert said. The plan will include coordination with the police department.

The pilot is modeled off a safe parking program launched three years ago by Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation. There, 10 spots are reserved in a lot behind the church for families and single women experiencing homelessness.

In Everett, the spots will be limited to unhoused families with kids. Single women may be allowed in the future, Dean said. The pilot is starting with five spaces, but would be allowed to grow up to 10 eventually.

A “safe parking lot” will be a benefit to both homeless families and to the wider community, said the Rev. Carol Jensen, a member of Everett Faith in Action.

The pilot is expected to last through 2019, and could be continued.

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @lizzgior.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A woman was struck by a car while crossing HIghway 99 on Dec. 2, 2021. (Lynnwood Police Department)
Woman charged in Highway 99 death of Lynnwood pedestrian, 72

Prosecutors allege Tachelle Thomas was under the influence of THC when she hit and killed Fozieh Shirdelhefzabad, 72, in 2020.

vote
Election season about to get real as candidate filing begins

It will be an intriguing year in Snohomish County politics, as retirements open seats and redistricting stirs competition.

Nonprofit offers free mental wellness event for local teens

The Saturday gathering at EvCC, sponsored by Leadership Launch, is for teens in eighth grade through college.

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office released this redacted photo of a suspect in connection with a shooting after he was taken into custody Monday. (Snohomish County Sheriff)
1 shot, 1 arrested after gunfire on 164th south of Everett

Sheriff’s deputies were investigating what led to the shooting around 11:40 a.m. near I-5.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Lynnwood woman accused of killing 2 in 2021 Whidbey crash

A judge found probable cause existed to believe Danielle C. Cruz committed vehicular homicide in December.

Water heaters that are not up to code are visible from the hallway on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Even after housing ‘nightmare,’ new tenants pay more at Grand Apartments

Dimension, a real estate company, bullied longtime tenants and ignored urgent requests for repairs, former residents said.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mukilteo in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Mukilteo man missing for over 24 hours found dead

Kook Byung Choi, 84, was found in woods near where he went missing in Mukilteo.

Everett
‘Prepper’ arrested in Everett after grenade, explosives found

The suspect was described as “anti-government,” police wrote. He remained in custody Monday.

Justin Blasko
Report on Monroe superintendent’s conduct delivered to school board

Employees accused Justin Blasko of fomenting a hostile workplace. Findings won’t be public for about two weeks or longer.

Most Read