Church opens parking spots to homeless families who live in their vehicles

Typically parking lots have signs that warn motorists no overnight parking is allowed, but one church in Everett, Washington is opening up their parking lot to local homeless families who live in their vehicles and need a place to stay.

“We are at a crisis point in Snohomish County. We are at a crisis point in all of western Washington,” Jim Dean with Interfaith Family Shelter told K5 News.

Currently, there are 280 people living in their vehicles in Snohomish County, Washington, and the city of Everett wants to do something about it.

This year’s numbers are a 58% increase from the prior year, and about half of those without a home live in their cars.

Jim said that one of the main issues with the county’s handling of the homelessness problem is that the shelters are not capable of helping everyone in need of assistance.

But he’s hopeful a new program, which he helped secure a $25,000 grant for, will ease the overcrowding.

Pastor Luke Hyder of Cascade View Presbyterian Church has graciously offered up a portion of his church’s parking lot for the pilot program.

Before moving forward Hyder consulted neighbors and his congregation and was met with many questions, but eventually led to the development of the program.

Five families will be able to park their vehicles within a fence and will have access to a porta potty and dumpster.

Those who wish to participate in the Cars to Housing Pilot Program will undergo a screening process, background check, and be assigned a case manager. Since the program is set up to be a 90-day transitional program, families will receive assistance with finding a permanent home.

It’s great that these few families will be getting the help that they need.

I hope that in the future more families will be able to benefit from similar programs.

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