Public/Global Health

Berkeley opening first RV safe parking program for homeless people

Homelessness in San Francisco may be worse than previously thought
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The first RV parking program in Berkeley, Calif., will open at the end of the month in an effort to provide a safe place for homeless people living in their vehicles. 

City officials told The San Francisco Chronicle that the site outside an indoor shelter will offer 24-hour parking for up to 40 vehicles annually. The program will reportedly cost the city about $410,000. 

Just two years ago, the city attempted to push out homeless people with an overnight parking ban passed by Berkeley’s city council, the Chronicle noted. The following year, a proposal that would have allowed 25 RVs to park in the city’s lots during non-business hours was considered, but failed to pass. 

“It really has been quite a journey to get to this point,” Councilmember Rashi Kesarwani told the newspaper. 

While advocates are reportedly excited about the new program, others have voiced concerns that the lot does not have enough space to accommodate all of Berkeley’s homeless residents who live in RVs.

Nearly one-third of Berkeley’s homeless population live in vehicles, according to a count conducted in 2019, with more than 160 in RVs, the Chronicle noted. 

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