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San Luis Obispo opens up parking spaces for overnight vehicle camping

overnight parking lot.PNG
Posted at 7:07 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 22:29:18-05

The City of San Luis Obispo is partnering with the nonprofit Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO) to create safe parking spots at Railroad Square Park for people to stay in their vehicles overnight.

The parking lot faces High Street.

Michael Codron, the Director of Community Development for the City of San Luis Obispo said, “During the course of the pandemic, the number of unhoused residents in the city has increased.”

Since the beginning of quarantine, the city, San Luis Obispo County, and CAPSLO have been working on these safe parking places.

Now, the city and CAPSLO plan on opening the Railroad Square Park location within two weeks and keep it open for the duration of the pandemic.

There will be 20 parking spots available for people to stay overnight, but they will have to sign up for a permit.

Signing up just means showing up between 6-7 p.m. The permit is good for a month and has other perks as well.

Participants can utilize services at the 40 Prado Homeless Services Center in San Luis Obispo, including free laundry and showers, lunch and breakfast, and kennels for short-term stays for their pets.

Grace McIntosh, the Deputy Director at CAPSLO explained, “We want to do the safe parking so that people who aren’t really looking to establish a permanent residency kind of situation here in SLO can at least have a place to safely park for a month and then make a decision about what they do from that point on.”

When people sign up for an overnight permit, there are certain rules they must follow -- no noise worthy of an ordinance past 10 p.m. and no violence, drugs, or alcohol on the premises.

Staff will be onsite for at least part of the night and SLOPD monitored cameras are in place.

McIntosh was optimistic, saying the permits “[are] an understanding that we want to be not only good neighbors to the 20 parkers that are here but also good neighbors to the surrounding community.”

San Luis Obispo does have the option to extend this program after the pandemic.