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Lack of funds, church partners hold back ‘safe parking’ program for LA’s homeless

The program Safe Parking LA strives to get the homeless who live in vehicles off the streets at night and into parking lots where they can comfortably sleep. But the founders say funding and religious partners have been hard to come by.
The program Safe Parking LA strives to get the homeless who live in vehicles off the streets at night and into parking lots where they can comfortably sleep. But the founders say funding and religious partners have been hard to come by.
Josie Huang/KPCC
The program Safe Parking LA strives to get the homeless who live in vehicles off the streets at night and into parking lots where they can comfortably sleep. But the founders say funding and religious partners have been hard to come by.
Emily Uyeda Kantrim, who manages the Safe Parking LA program, makes a presentation to members of the South Robertson neighborhood council about opening a site on IKAR's property.
Josie Huang/KPCC
The program Safe Parking LA strives to get the homeless who live in vehicles off the streets at night and into parking lots where they can comfortably sleep. But the founders say funding and religious partners have been hard to come by.
Pat Cohen, a founder of Safe Parking LA (far right), and Brooke Wirtschafter of IKAR (second to right), stand during a South Robertson neighborhood council meeting on July 19, 2018 as they show support for putting a safe parking program on IKAR's lot in that neighborhood.
Josie Huang/KPCC
The program Safe Parking LA strives to get the homeless who live in vehicles off the streets at night and into parking lots where they can comfortably sleep. But the founders say funding and religious partners have been hard to come by.
St. Mary's Episcopal Church's lot is where homeless people can park in their cars at night.
KPCC/Lori Galarreta


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To date, Safe Parking L.A. has only been able to launch three "safe parking" sites with about 30 spots among them — a disappointment given that some 9,000 Angelenos live in cars, vans and recreational vehicles. Fewer than a handful of city and county politicians have committed any funding, forcing the group to turn to private donors.

The nonprofit's founders thought churches and synagogues would be clamoring to open up their parking lots for the night, and that money to fund these efforts would flow from politicians’ coffers.

They were wrong.

Read more on LAist.com: 'Safe Parking' For LA's Homeless Hobbled By Lack Of Money And Religious Partners