Working Homeless Absent One Less Refuge, Safe Parking in Vista Church Lot Closes Due to City Pressure

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Dreams for Change Organization Rallies for End of Year Donations to Keep Safe Parking Open for 2014

A new start this New Year will be even more of a challenge for the working homeless if the trend of 2013 continues with the shutting down of church parking lots for the employed homeless who rest in their cars.

"The City of Vista has deemed the activity of supporting the working homeless in their only asset, their car,  in consenting church parking area as an illegal activity" said Teresa Smith, Phd, Chief Executive Officer of Dreams for Change, a San Diego-based non-profit. “We believe that helping people where they are in life is key to closing the ever widening gap of poverty and wealth, especially in San Diego where we rank as one of the highest in homelessness. We are grateful for the many churches who provide parking spaces for working homeless to rest, but are concerned about cities such as Vista where providing support to the working homeless in their cars is perceived as a violation.”

Contributing factors to the plight of San Diego’s working homelessness is the high cost of housing as reported by the California Budget Project More than 70% of Safe Parking participants have income, but are just unable to make ends meet in San Diego's economic and housing environment.

The Safe Parking program has successfully served more than 700 individuals in 2013, more than the first two years of Safe Parking combined. Unfortunately, funding has not kept pace with the needs.  Without immediate funding, Safe Parking will be forced to close half of the operational sitesm sending working families back out to the streets.

Smith, who oversees the Safe Parking program under her Dreams for Change Organization, asserts that the loss of a vehicle is seen as one of the final step to chronic homelessness. Smith's goals for the organization in 2014 include hiring additional intake staff and to widen the reach of the program beyond the two operational programs in San Diego. To help facilitate that vision, please donate now to Dreams for Change, a 501 C(3) visit 

About the Safe Parking Program 
The Safe Parking Program provides a safe parking environment and supportive services for transitional homeless living in their vehicles for overnight stays. Family advocates construct an action plan with each participant placing emphasis on permanent housing solutions, employment, training, emergency supports and asset stabilization and building. The idea of the Safe Parking Program was developed by seeing the rise in newly homeless due to sudden loss of employment and homes. A student group from SDSU School of Social Work and Cal Western Law School researched and started the ground work for the Safe Parking Program to be a viable program here in San Diego.

The Safe Parking Program operates 7 nights a week, 365 days a year starting at 6:00 pm. Program volunteers and staff are always on site. For more information about the program visit

To donate now to Dreams for Change, a 501 C(3) visit 


Twitter  @SafeParkingSanDiego

Press Contact: 
Cheryl Goodman

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