The TUUC Social Justice Committee Housing Subcommittee urges you to write your Pierce County Council Member and encourage them to vote for proposed Ordinance 2022-36. This ordinance will facilitate enlarging the Safe Parking program in Pierce County. This is a revision of an ordinance recently passed by County Council and vetoed by County Executive Bruce Dammeier. Let’s help this happen!
TUUC has been a Safe Parking site for over a year, providing a safe place for guests living in their vehicles to park overnight, have access to basic sanitation and connect with agencies that will help them move toward more stable housing. Our Safe Parking program – one of four in Tacoma and Pierce County – has been an asset to our community, our neighborhood and our guests. The vote is coming up Tuesday, May 24. You can support this legislation on the County Council webpage in the Comment box and by emailing your Council Member by clicking on their highlighted name and then on Send an email from their webpage. You are welcome to use the following letter as a template:
Dear Council Member __________,
My name is ________ and I am a constituent and a member of the Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation. We have direct experience of the positive impact of a well-managed Safe Parking Site on the lives of our guests, the health and safety of our church property and the health and safety of our South Tacoma neighborhood. Our corner of the community is cleaner, experiencing less misbehavior and is providing a safe and sanitary location where people living in their vehicles can park overnight.
To park in any of the existing Safe Parking sites – or future sites managed by the Tacoma/Pierce County Safe Parking organization – guests must engage with resources that will help them move forward into more permanent housing. Safe Parking is intended to be a temporary stepping stone not a permanent “housing” option. Expanding the program with additional well-managed sites that provide overnight parking, basic sanitation including access to trash and recycling bins and a connection to supportive services can be life-changing for those living in their vehicles. Well-managed Safe Parking is cost effective and human effective.
Organizations providing Safe Parking sites need to be able to provide this service without undue financial impact beyond basic expenses: Porta Potty, handwashing station, sanitary supplies, and trash and recycle disposal. Requiring sites to get permits will require additional funding that is often not available. Washington HB 1754 encourages using a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) rather than permitting. This is an affordable and doable way to make sure an organization will agree to manage a Safe Parking site within the guidelines of the Ordinance.
Thank you for your support of Safe Parking and for considering my comments.
Name, Address, Email Address