We are dedicated to helping the half of the homeless population that lives and sleeps in their vehicles in the United States. Sleepy Herd's solution is the creation of beautiful, 21st century, designated parking lots for those who live in their vehicles to have a safe place to sleep at night.
Why Parking Lots?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has traditionally funded programs that have largely been the promise of building more affordable housing and emergency shelters.
Shelters can be effective, however, all people are not able to get into shelters for various reasons such as:
A shelter is full and lacks availability
A person left their last residence with their pet(s) and are now prohibited from bringing their pets into the shelter
A homeless person is averse to a shelter for hygiene and/or personal safety reasons
The splitting-up of families (all female or all male shelters)
Victims of domestic violence may have nowhere to go especially when offices and people who assist those in need of such social services have closed for the business day or weekend.
Veterans may be poor fits for shelters due to PTSD issues and/or curfews.
Additionally, affordable housing is known to have an 18 month wait-list for qualified applicants which is too long for someone who needs a safe place to park and sleep.
Despite these traditional solutions to homelessness not fitting the needs of these people, Continuums of Care (COCs) are of the impression that if the homeless who live in their cars are not interested in getting into their particular systems, then they will not have their needs addressed, as though they have willingly forfeited assistance/help.
Law Enforcement & The Vehicular Homeless
People who are homeless and living in their are perceived to either be trespassing, loitering, or breaking laws that prohibit the sleeping and/or living in one’s vehicle while being parked on public streets.
Law enforcement is then tasked with telling these people to move along, however law enforcement can only tell these people to go elsewhere, because the US does not provide them a designated location.
In our interviews with law enforcement across the country, they have told us they spend hundreds of hours each year (time that could be spent on more important issues) telling people to move along who are reported as sleeping in their cars, parked on public streets.
They have also told us that it deeply hurts their own sense of humanity to tell these people to move along, as there is no designated place for them to go to park and sleep.
Additionally, law enforcement overwhelmingly agreed that they wished a solution was available allowing them to direct this part of our homeless to a designated place to park and sleep.
An emergency solution safe parking lot rest area is like the waiting lobby at an emergency room or hospital. While awaiting an available room, or a physician, you still have a safe lawful place to be and rest until such time as you can be seen and treated.
The creation of these safe parking lot "lobbies" will allow solutions (particularly the end game of permanent and stable housing) to work in conjunction with others and not be polarized or academically binary.
Furthermore, most large cities have an area or 2 where blight and economic depression exist, and such areas are the focal points for adding a new and needed solution of this kind.