Honoring 20 Years Since Santa Barbara First Pioneered Safe Parking Programs, Rep. Carbajal Announces Introduction of Bipartisan Legislation to Unlock Federal Funds for Similar Programs Nationwide

Legislation is named in recognition of S.B. Supervisors Schwartz and Rose, who originally helped create the 2004 safe parking program when Carbajal was a County government staffer

  • Honoring 20 Years Since Santa Barbara First Pioneered Safe Parking Programs, Rep. Carbajal Announces Introduction of Bipartis

Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) marked 20 years since the launch of Santa Barbara’s first-in-the-nation safe parking program by announcing the introduction of his bipartisan legislation to unlock federal dollars for similar programs aimed at offering a critical lifeline to people experiencing homelessness.

The Naomi Schwartz and Susan Rose Safe Parking Act, named in honor of the two County Supervisors who first developed the 2004 program, is bipartisan legislation that would allow federal housing funds to support safe parking programs by making these programs eligible for grants to support operation and expansion of these critical lifelines.

Rep. Carbajal was working for the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in 2004 when the County partnered with New Beginnings to launch the nation’s first safe parking program, which offers overnight parking to individuals and families living in their vehicles.

“I am proud to have played a small part in helping get this critical program off the ground – one that now has served hundreds of Central Coast residents across the County through the remarkable stewardship of New Beginnings. But I am also proud to see the inspiration our program has been for communities across America,” said Rep. Carbajal. “There’s no reason why the federal government should not be recognizing the difference these programs make in responding to the housing crises we are facing.”

Rep. Carbajal was joined by former County Supervisor Susan Rose, 1st District County Supervisor Das Williams, and New Beginnings Executive Director Kristine Schwartz, whose team helps oversee 26 safe parking spaces throughout Santa Barbara County.

“For me, the safe parking program – when we got it up and running – was a dream come true, and it’s been a success,” said former County Supervisor Susan Rose. “Salud has been a champion for the safe parking program both on the Board of Supervisors and now in Washington – and I know that he can make this happen. Salud, we’re cheering you on.”

“There is a critical need for dedicated funding to support families and individuals who have no viable option but to live out of their vehicles. This population is represented in an increasing number of communities across the country and includes so many people who are on the precipice between returning to stable housing and falling further into homelessness. New Beginnings wholeheartedly supports Congressman Carbajal's bill to expand the eligible uses of ESG funding to address this urgent need,” said Kristine Schwartz.

“Safe Parking is now a proven model. It’s no longer a controversial effort,” said Supervisor Das Williams. “I hope that folks will join Congressman Carbajal in this effort because the limiting factor here is not people who are willing to come into the program. New Beginnings has a waiting list. The limiting factor is funding, which this bill could dramatically help.”

Safe parking programs now exist across the United States, from sites in California and the Pacific Northwest to Colorado, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

These programs seek to counteract a rise in laws outlawing people experiencing homelessness from living in their vehicles, which has seen a 213% spike in ordinances from 2006 to 2019 – including an outright ban in four states.

A previous version of Carbajal’s bill advanced out of the House committee overseeing housing issues in 2022, but did not become law.

Stay Connected

Use the form below to sign up for my newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.

Office Locations