House Committee Approves Rep. Carbajal’s Naomi Schwartz Safe Parking Program Act

Bipartisan measure enables federal grants for safe parking programs, addresses homelessness—aiming to expand homelessness support strategy that originated on Central Coast

Earlier today, the House Committee on Financial Services approved the Naomi Schwartz Safe Parking Program Act, a measure authored by Congressman Salud Carbajal.

The bipartisan bill enables local entities to receive grants to establish and expand safe parking programs, the first of which was established in Santa Barbara County in 2004.

"I am grateful to the members of the House Financial Services Committee who today helped us take one step closer to providing federal support for safe parking programs,” said Rep. Carbajal. “Safe parking programs originated here on the Central Coast, and should be part of the wide array of strategies we support at the federal level to help people experiencing homelessness.”

The Naomi Schwartz Safe Parking Program Act of 2022 expands eligibility to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Emergency Solution Grants to include Safe Parking programs for cities and local governments to establish or expand existing safe parking programs.

With committee approval, the measure is now available for consideration by the full U.S. House of Representatives.

Background on the Naomi Schwartz Safe Parking Program Act:

Vehicle residency is one of the fastest-growing forms of homelessness and estimates show that about a quarter of homeless individuals in Los Angeles are living out of their vehicles. While cars, trucks, and RVs can be cost-effective alternatives in places with some of the nation’s steepest rents, sleeping in a vehicle on most city streets is illegal and often leaves those experiencing vehicular homelessness vulnerable to harassment and violence.

Safe parking programs provide homeless persons living in their vehicles with a safe place to park their vehicles overnight and offer resources to assist with the transition to more stable housing.

The first safe parking program in the country was established in Santa Barbara in 2004 in former County Supervisor Naomi Schwartz’s district. The bill is named for Ms. Schwartz to honor her role as an original champion of the program.

Safe parking programs have now spread across the country, but there remains limited federal funds to run the operational costs associated with these programs.

Carbajal’s measure has the support of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara,  New Beginnings, and the National Homelessness Law Center.

More information on Rep. Carbajal’s measure can be found here.

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