While some people are rich enough to build private race tracks outside of their mansions, others are struggling just trying to find a safe place to park their portable homes overnight. Homeless residents in Longmont, Colorado might soon have more havens to park their RVs and cars without fear of getting towed.
City leaders in Longmont, Colorado are considering safe lots: https://t.co/IdK3gJzUEv “Safe lots are parking lots meant for homeless people living in their vehicles that provide security and basic amenities like toilets and showers.”
— Corey Hutchins (@CoreyHutchins) February 16, 2020
According to Denver7 News’ Ivan Rodriguez, the city is looking into establishing “safe lots” where locals can safely spend the night in their vehicles. These areas would help out residents like Charlotte Palmer and Ted Pusillo who have spent the last four years living out of their RV. Though they’ve resided in Longmont since they were kids, there’s still a lack of safe places to park overnight. “You can’t park anywhere near a place where there’s residential, because people will call the cops. We’re not bad people. We’re just trying to survive and do the best we can,” said Pusillo.
Rallying a task force
Currently, Longmont is still in the research stage of the plan. Per the city’s Safe Lot Task Force, establishing one safe lot with portable restrooms and security staff would cost a minimum of $75K annually. Per Rodriguez, local organization Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement (HOPE) will launch a pilot program for the safe lots this May.
HOPE executive director Joseph Zanovitch says the pilot will launch with or without the city’s formal support — though, they would prefer to have the city on board with the plan. Per Zanovitch, church parking lots make the most sense for the locations of these safe lots, at least for the pilot. “I’ve had a lot of positive interactions with churches in the area, and a lot of them are very intrigued and they’re going through their own internal process with their volunteer committees to see if it’s something they want to pursue.”
Per Zanovitch, Longmont currently has 80 RVs and 60 passenger vehicles that homeless residents are living out of. If the pilot goes as planned, hopefully the city will establish more safe lots as 2020 plays out.