San Francisco has opened its first safe parking area for people who are living in vehicles, with an aim to remove homeless people from the streets amid a rising homelessness crisis in the western coastal U.S. city.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed launched the opening ceremony of the Vehicle Triage Center south of downtown on Wednesday, which offers 30 parking spaces for vehicles inhabited by homeless people, who will enjoy round-the-clock security service, showers, power, restroom facilities and other city services.
The Triage Center will be managed by Urban Alchemy, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco.
“As we work to expand capacity across our homeless response system and get people off the streets, this Vehicle Triage Center provides an important place for people who are living in RVs or in their cars to have regular access to the restroom, and other basic services,” Breed said.
She added that the center will offer those who dwell in vehicles opportunities to help them get out of homelessness and transition to permanent housing.
City officials have created the Triage Center as a pilot program to provide a secure location and services for people who are living in their vehicles.
The center will be dismantled in the fall of 2020 when construction will begin to build 130 units of affordable housing on the site, according to Breed’s office.
A survey conducted earlier this year found that more than 8,000 people are sleeping on San Francisco streets on any given night, and 65 percent of the homeless population in the city are living unsheltered on streets, or in encampments or vehicles.