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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Housing First?

Housing First is a philosophy and an evidence-based State mandate that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, and includes best practices like making services voluntary; harm reduction philosophy; no withholding of services for sobriety, substance addiction, or lack of money; and low barrier strategies like accommodating pets, partners, and possessions. Even though Safe Parking and Safe Shelter are temporary solutions intended to meet the immediate needs when permanent housing is unavailable, services can still be provided using these best practices.

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1. What is Safe Parking and Safe Shelter?
2. How is Safe Parking – Safe Shelter different from traditional shelters?
3. Who can operate a Safe Parking or Safe Shelter Pilot?
4. Where is a Pilot site allowed?
5. How do I find the zoning for my parcel?
6. What services are required at the site?
7. Can the Pilot sites be on public land or private land?
8. Is there a limit on how many sites are allowed in the County?
9. How long will the Pilot Program operate?
10. What happens at the end of the Pilot Program, after eighteen months?
11. When will Provider’s staff be present at the sites?
12. What happens if the site becomes a nuisance?
13. Who enforces the Management Plan?
14. How long can people stay at the Pilot sites?
15. Why can’t the shelters be permanent?
16. What about RVs?
17. Will the Safe Parking-Safe Shelter Sites have ADA access?
18. How are complaints handled?
19. Can Safe Parking or Safe Shelter sites be on private land?
20. If my site is correctly zoned, how do I get a zoning clearance certificate?
21. Where do I get a Department Approval Letter from the Division of Environmental Health?
22. What is in the Plot Plan?
23. What is Housing First?
24. How are basic health and safety regulations ensured for Pilot sites?
25. How is Safe Parking or Safe Shelter different from informal camps?
26. Who makes the Management Plan?
27. What are the Management Plan types and how are they different?
28. Can a Safe Parking or Safe Shelter Pilot lose its zoning clearance permit?
29. Are Safe Parking or Safe Shelter sites allowed on parcels zoned AG (general agriculture)?
30. How are participants selected for the Pilot sites?
31. Can parking lots or unpaved areas be Pilot sites?
32. Can existing buildings be used as Safe Parking or Safe Shelter sites?