By Post Staff
The Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) is excited to bring both the City of Oakland and Alameda County together to serve the unhoused population in the East Bay, to provide emergency funding to prevent ICAC’s Safe Car Park Program from closing permanently.
The program, which began five years ago, provides a safe space to sleep overnight for individuals and families who live in their cars. The program will close temporarily on Dec. 29. But with the new funding, it will re-open in January 2024.
On Tuesday, Dec. 19, the Oakland City Council is scheduled to hear an item authored by Rebecca Kaplan, with co-authors Nikki Fortunato Bas, and Carroll Fife, to approve $450,000 to fund the Safe Car Park program.
“(This) will help people experiencing homelessness to have a safe place to park overnight on church-owned sites, and to get support and connections to strengthen their futures,” said Councilmember Kaplan.
Currently, the program is housed at the ICAC Hub, the West Side Missionary Baptist Church in West Oakland. With additional funding, sites will expand to include an additional West Oakland location at Corinthians Baptist Church. Another site will be added in East Oakland at the Williams Chapel Baptist Church, serving the districts of Oakland Council President Bas and Councilmember Noel Gallo.
“Corinthians Baptist Church stands ready and willing to provide overnight parking to the community if the city and county funds are made available. For the need is great, and we stand ready to serve,” said Dr. Chauncey Mathews, pastor.
“Homelessness is one of the most pressing issues facing the City of Oakland, the State of California, and the entire Country, and the ICAC Safe Car Park Program is doing the very valuable work of providing space and resources to people experiencing homelessness to help them get off the streets and on track,” said Oakland City Councilmember Carroll Fife.
Said Council President Bas, “”These low-barrier safe parking sites will provide vital resources to those living in their vehicles like access to showers and toilets for basic hygiene and health. This program also helps keep our neighborhoods cleaner and healthier by providing safe and accessible ways to dispose of black and gray water waste, and reduces vehicular fluid and other types of waste, especially in residential neighborhoods.”
Bas continued, “I’m excited to partner with Williams Chapel Baptist Church, which will open a site in central Oakland serving Districts 2 and 5,” said Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas.
Added Dr. Kenneth Anderson, pastor: “I recognize that this is just a Band-Aid for much-needed affordable housing in Oakland, but our church is willing to continue to support the efforts of housing for all people.”
Pastor Jim Hopkins said, “These are hard times in the City of Oakland. For many, the safe car parks connected with the Interfaith Council of Alameda County are what keep difficulty from becoming despair.”
“We are grateful for the support from the mayor’s office through Deputy Mayor Kimberly Mayfield’s office. To learn more or to donate to the Safe Car Park program, visit interfaithAC.org. ‘Working Together Works,’” said Dr. Ken Chambers, ICAC president.
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