SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The city of Sacramento has opened its second “Safe Ground” location for the homeless in as many weeks, but this one is aimed at those who live in vehicles.
A place for the homeless to park their cars and trailers has been a long-known need.
David and April Coyle said they were “following the American dream” when that dream turned into a nightmare. The couple and their daughter, Killian, have been homeless and on the road for months after the pandemic caused David Coyle to lose his job managing a concert venue.
Parking their converted school bus has been a struggle.
“People who are strung out on something slamming up against the bus and yelling at me for no reason, and it’s terrifying, especially having a child,” April Coyle told FOX40.
“We’ve had everything from ‘you’re terrible parents’ to being called druggies and addicts, when we aren’t users or any of that. We just got stuck in a bad situation,” David Coyle said.
But the Coyles are now parked in Sacramento’s second “Safe Ground” campsite. Located at the base of Broadway, the lot has water, sanitation and garbage service. There are onsite services for the homeless as well.
City Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela badly wanted the facility in her district.
“Instead of being scattered where they don’t know if they’re safe, where they don’t have access to bathrooms or services or food, they can come here,” Valenzuela said.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the homeless parking facility fulfills the demands of businesses and residents.
“The people are, rightfully, demanding that we get people off the street and that we clean up the business corridors in the neighborhood in the right way and the humane way, and that’s exactly what this represents here,” Steinberg told FOX40.
The Coyles said the “Safe Ground” lot lives up to its name but hope their stay is temporary.
“It’s definitely not something we want to stay in,” David Coyle said. “We definitely want to get back into our career fields.”
In the coming weeks and months, the city hopes to open 15 “Safe Ground” sites for tents and vehicles in an effort to battle a chronic problem that has plagued the city. In June, under the city’s homeless master plan, each council district will have come up with viable sites for homeless facilities so that each part of the city can do its share to address homelessness.