2021 Grants Challenge

San Gabriel Valley (SGV) Safe Parking Program

Currently there are no safe parking programs in the San Gabriel Valley, yet housing providers acknowledge a need for more creative efforts to ease the homeless crisis and help unhoused people rebuild their lives and reengage with their communities. We envision a model small-scale, cost effective collaborative program between a service provider and a faith-based organization that would allot spaces for overnight safe parking, creating a pathway to stable housing and reengagement for people sleeping in their vehicles.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

San Gabriel Valley

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

In the San Gabriel Valley, 1,241 people live in 675 vehicles. Despite the urgent need, there have been no safe parking programs in SGV prior to this pilot program. Safe parking not only offers stability such as a place to park, safety through paid security, reengagement with community members from the faith-based and/or host site organizations, good night's rest without worry of being harassed, ticketed, or towed, but safe parking also helps create a path to becoming housed. While the ultimate goal of the safe parking program is to ensure affordable and sustainable housing through its connection and network of case management and housing provider services, the COVID-19 pandemic has created another layer and acute need for solutions like safe parking to be implemented because congregate shelters offer less protection from the virus. In fact, sleeping in a vehicle may be a healthier option than sleeping in a congregate shelter or on the street.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

With the collaboration of Foothill Unity Center, Trinity Lutheran Church and MHCH's SGV Safe Parking Committee, a pilot program is being launched in Pasadena to become a model, showing how working together with faith-based organizations can help solve homelessness on a small scale, one parking space at a time. Through this pilot program, the following services will be provided: designated overnight parking spaces, case management, food, housing navigation, problem solving interventions, paid security, partnerships that help to re-weave the relational network, charging stations, a place to receive mail, and possibly showers and laundry services. The overall goal of this program is to develop a model to be replicated in order to help with the homeless crisis. Through current resources and leveraging we are able to provide the pilot program for four months. This grant will support a team that will assure the continuation and growth of this program and will support the assessments and development of a sustainable plan and a plan for replication anywhere. The collaborative will be supported in outreach efforts and identifying future sites and funding sources. Our commitment is build a strong cost effective collaboration with tools needed for a well-run, high-quality program that looks at the whole person in order to transform lives.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 30

Indirect Impact: 150

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

The first major impact of this program will be the reduction of people experiencing homelessness. Those in the program will live more stable and productive lives, contributing to the community in a a myriad of ways including positive contributions into the health of the community. Fewer people experiencing homelessness will mean less stress on our healthcare and social services systems and more resources freed up for recreational, arts, and education programs that will contribute to the vibrancy of the San Gabriel Valley area. In addition, volunteers and churches will benefit by growing in their capacity to reach out to some of our most vulnerable neighbors of our community; through safe parking, the vision that meets that need to give becomes viable. A whole new group of people will have an experience of knowing people in different circumstances, creating a more diverse and, therefore, stronger community in the SGV that has an experience of pulling together and leaving no one behind.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Foothill Unity utilizes its client services management system (CSMS) to track case management, services, and outcomes for participants enrolled in its programs. Foothill will query and pull demographic data, program enrollments, completed surveys/evaluations, etc. and present reports. Foothill Unity Center operates in a network with other providers to help unhoused participants secure housing such as rapid rehousing or permanent supportive housing. Participants consent to their information being entered into the Homeless Maintenance Information System (HMIS) and to the network discussions and coordination of services through the coordinated entry system (CES) process. Foothill Unity Center staff will pull reports, complete the vulnerable index service prioritization decision assistance tool (VI SPDAT) assessment, enter notes, build relationships, and evaluate the success of the program through use of the evaluation tool created through the safe parking partnership.

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

Foothill Unity Center will provide staff, administrative oversight, as well will coordinate with the many community partner service providers, provider networks and consortiums, college/university intern programs, and governmental entities. Foothill Unity Center staff will have the full support of all services provided at the agency. The Safe Parking Committee of MHCH will reach out to city governments, identify future sites and funding sources, and conduct public outreach to help establish sustainability and expansion of the program.

Which of the LIVE metrics will you impact?​

Food insecurity

Healthcare access


Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT