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House Committee Approves Rep. Carbajal’s Safe Parking Program Legislation, Inspired by Local Program | Local News

The House Financial Services Committee on Thursday approved the Naomi Schwartz Secure Parking Program Act, making it eligible for consideration by the full United States House of Representatives.

The bill – drafted by local Congressman Salud Carbajal – would make secure parking programs an eligible use of Ministry of Housing and Urban Development emergency solutions grants that local organizations and governments can apply for.

“Secure parking programs were born here on the Central Coast and should be part of the wide range of strategies we support at the federal level to help homeless people,” Carbajal said.

Secure Parking Programs, which were first created by the New Beginnings Counseling Center in 2004, use parking lots to allow people living in their vehicles to park safely overnight, as well as provide resources assistance, such as rapid relocation services and other case management services.

“We are so grateful to Congressman Carbajal and his legislative staffer Tanner Dorrough for their incredible efforts and hard work in getting this bill passed. [by the House committee]“said New Beginnings executive director Kristine Schwarz.

According to Schwarz, the program has 26 secure parking program lots between Santa Barbara, Goleta, and nearby unincorporated areas, which allows them to serve about 165 people per night. She added that the New Beginnings Secure Parking Program served 564 unduplicated people last year through its accommodation, rapid relocation and outreach services.

Schwarz also said more Secure Parking Program locations are needed in downtown Santa Barbara — for day and night parking — Carpinteria, Goleta, Isla Vista, Lompoc, Santa Maria and unincorporated areas. in surrounding society.

The New Beginnings website says there have been no major incidents or damage to lots or neighborhoods since the program began.

“Secure parking programs have now spread across the country, but there remain limited federal funds to manage the operational costs associated with these programs,” said a press release on the bill.

The act would establish five-year grants through the Department of Housing and Urban Development up to $5 million.

According to the Carbajal website, the grants could be used to establish and operate secure parking programs, provide ongoing relocation assistance, employ staff to maintain the safety and health of program participants, establish and maintain the operation of hygiene facilities and toilets, maintain participants’ vehicles. and providing gas for participants to travel to places that would help them secure housing, and entering data into HUD’s Homelessness Management Information System.

In addition to providing a safe place to park vehicles and rapid relocation services, New Beginnings’ Secure Parking Program connects chronically homeless people with shelters and agencies that can help them secure jobs or opportunities. government benefits.

Tutoring and resume preparation are also offered at New Beginnings Safe Parking Program sites, as well as, on a case-by-case basis, grants and cash assistance to pay for participants’ medical and dental expenses.

While there is no set timeline for the bill’s next steps, Carbajal is working to get the bill before the full House before December, according to office spokesman Ian. Mariani.

“MP Carbajal’s efforts to gain support in the committee succeeded in advancing his bill,” Mariani said. “He is working to build support across the House, on both sides of the aisle, and with House leaders to introduce his bill for a vote in some form before the end of this Congress in December.”

– Noozhawk editor Serena Guentz can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.