Santa Clara County supervisors on Tuesday committed to considering a safe-parking program for homeless residents to sleep overnight in their vehicles.
According to a proposal that passed the through the board Tuesday, the county will partner with local municipalities, nonprofits and community members to find safe parking sites that could provide overnight shelter "at very low or no cost."
This would include parking for RVs and cars, potentially on sites operated at all hours of every week.
"It's become increasingly clear that some of these programs would benefit from additional County support and engagement. Cities have faced a number of barriers to opening safe parking programs, including finding appropriate sites, the lack of insurance for non-profit partners, and challenges in establishing 24-hour lots," Supervisor Joe Simitian said in a statement.
"We need to identify more sites, find a way to keep them open 24/7 and connect local non-profits with the insurance coverage they need to get the job done," he said.
Simitian added: "We need to figure out whether we can really scale these efforts. Each small effort is immensely helpful to the people we reach, but I think we can do more. And we should."
Meanwhile in Mountain View, city leaders are being urged to rescind a new ordinance aimed at banning homeless people from parking on some streets. The city passed two laws taking effect this summer that would prohibit over-sized vehicles from parking on narrow streets.
The Mountain View City Council on Tuesday night heard a proposed ballot measure that would block those ordinances.
Previous efforts in the county to establish functioning safe-parking programs were funded by $750,000 in county money, but such programs have not stuck around or been widely used.
Simitian said while the county aims to have enough affordable housing and shelters, in the meantime, "there's more work to be done to remove barriers for folks looking for a safe, designated place to sleep at night while seeking permanent housing."