Community Divided Over Tacoma’s Safe Parking Site for Homeless
A new kind of shelter for people experiencing homelessness has recently opened at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Tacoma, Washington.
The safe parking site offers spots for several dozen vehicles and hygiene services available in one of the church campus buildings.
However, people who live nearby are questioning whether this solution is enough.
Residents in the community say they were promised that the safe parking site wouldn’t result in cars filling their streets instead of the lot.
But those who are parking their vehicles at the site say it’s not because they want to.
They were swept off other encampment areas and now they don’t have anywhere else to go.
While some residents support the safe parking site, others are frustrated with the increased number of cars filling their streets.
One resident who has been living in the area for about four years says he’s had to kick out house and possibly drug using people off his property after breaking in and trying to sleep on his deck.
He’s also seen an increase in cars parking along the streets, which he says increased once the safe parking site opened at the Holy Rosary Church.
So far, 14 out of 20 spots at the safe parking site are taken, with a total of 14 people who have passed background checks and other requirements receiving help.
However, people outside the gates say they’re still waiting for help and haven’t been offered resources.
Officials have heard the growing frustrations from residents and are taking steps to address the issue.
Tacoma police and the heel team are marking and tagging cars and offering services, and some of the people parked at the site have been asked to move by as early as Tuesday.
While officials say the safe parking site is working as at least 14 people are in a safer location than before, the community remains divided over whether it’s enough to address the issue of homelessness.