|For Immediate Release: April 26, 2022|
|Lakewood to Allow Safe Parking Sites to Address Homelessness|
|LAKEWOOD, CO – On Monday, April 25, the Lakewood City Council took steps toward addressing homelessness by immediately allowing local property owners to receive permits to host safe parking sites. Additionally, the city council will pursue the expansion of safe parking lots and the creation of an ordinance to codify a program in an effort to aid the increasing number of people experiencing homelessness.|
Ben David Hensley, the lead pastor at Lakewood United Methodist Church, brought attention to safe parking sites as a way to provide some relief to residents in the area. City Councilor Sophia Mayott-Guerrero (Ward 2) was among the proponents to allow safe parking sites to help end weather-related deaths in Lakewood by next winter.
“With skyrocketing housing prices, the continued impacts of the COVID pandemic, and wages outpaced by the cost of living, homelessness is rising at an alarming rate in Lakewood. This crisis demands an emergency response,” said Mayott-Guerrero. “Allowing private property owners to create safe parking sites will help people get back on their feet, but this is just one step forward. We need more ways to allow all people in Lakewood to feel – and be – safer, especially during the colder months.”
Lakewood joins the cities of Golden, Arvada, and Denver in allowing safe parking sites, which have been shown to reduce crime and result in permanent housing placements. The goal of the efforts, said Mayott-Guerrero, is to better connect people to sanitation resources, like water, trash, and restrooms, provide a stable environment, and interrupt the cycle of homelessness.
“While shelters will be built in Jefferson County over the next several years, there are few options for near-term interventions. Lakewood City Council named affordable housing and homelessness as our top two priorities this year — so our work is not done,” concluded Mayott-Guerrero.
Learn more about the Colorado Safe Parking Initiative. Learn more about Sophia Mayott-Guerrero and her goals on Lakewood City Council at SophiaForColorado.com.