With an eviction crisis still on the horizon, sanctioned overnight parking lots are being used nationwide to provide temporary relief for people living in vehicles — a common occurrence for those experiencing homelessness for the first time. In Boulder County this summer, the nonprofit Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement (HOPE) created SafeLot, a program providing an approved parking lot for car dwellers to spend the night safely. But the idea of safe lots has created tension with the regional agency charged with reducing homelessness. Its Housing First approach, emphasizing more permanent housing solutions, strikes some as contradicting safe lots’ shorter-term fix. Safe lot advocates say it offers stability that acts as a bridge to a more settled lifestyle.
Join host Emma Athena as she analyzes how COVID-19 has changed the conversation around safe lots as a solution for homelessness in episode 3 of Unhoused, a podcast collaboration from Boulder Weekly and KGNU.