Long Beach opens overnight parking for people sleeping in vehicles

The City of Long Beach is expanding its Safe Parking Program, which provides a safe, dignified environment for people currently sheltering in their vehicles to park overnight while receiving access to basic needs and being connected to services.

Photo by Long Beach City

“People in our community whose only source of shelter is their vehicle have a critical need for a safe space to park overnight,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “By opening this additional Safe Parking lot, we are more than tripling our capacity and creating new opportunities to connect more people with vital resources and services.”

Beginning Monday, March 20, this site, located in an underutilized parking lot on Queens Way, will be open daily from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. and will have space for approximately 50 passenger vehicles. The lot will not be open during the day. Safe Parking program participants will have access to various amenities and resources at this new site, including a pet relief area, restrooms and hand washing stations. The site is anticipated to operate through Sunday, May 21.

The location will not impact ongoing repairs for the Queen Mary, and will not impact operations, special events or nearby businesses. Outreach was conducted to businesses within the area to ensure they were notified of the forthcoming operations and business resources available to them. More information is available in the FAQs.

The location will also provide two security guards and Homeless Services Bureau staff on site who will connect clients with services and offer housing-focused case management. People interested in participating in the program must first receive a referral from the Multi-Service Center (MSC), located at 1301 W. 12th St., or through outreach, including the Mobile Access Center.

“This site will be an important asset in the City’s homelessness emergency response and provide enough space to significantly expand the program,” said First District Councilwoman Mary Zendejas. “I want to thank the Homeless Services Bureau staff for their work in linking participants with services and options for more stable housing.”

As of the 2022 Point in Time Count, 480 people were sheltered in their vehicles. Outreach workers report that safety is a common concern among people who sleep in their vehicles, therefore bringing more people into the Safe Parking program is a vital step in increasing safety, building trust and, ultimately, offering services that lead to long term or permanent housing. The City’s Safe Parking program currently offers 15 overnight parking spaces at the MSC. With this additional site, the Safe Parking program will have the capacity to reach 14% of people who are sheltered in vehicles in Long Beach, quadrupling the program’s current capacity.

Long Beach City College also provides safe parking on campus, available for students only.

The Long Beach Winter Shelter at Community Hospital will continue operations through April 30. The facility, which holds 81 beds, began operations in late December 2022 and is operated in partnership with nonprofit First to Serve Outreach Ministries and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).

For more information on the City’s efforts to reduce homelessness in Long Beach, people may visit longbeach.gov/homelessness and follow @lbhealthdept and @longbeachcity on social media and follow the hashtag #EveryoneHomeLB.