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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Stockton’s homeless population is expanding, and the city is considering a new solution. 

It is working to establish a safe parking and camping location for those without housing or who are living in the cars, trailers and campers. 

“You have to be able to help these folks get back on track if they’re living in their car, they’re living in a camper, something has been derailed in their life,” said Wayne Richardson, CEO of Gospel Center Rescue Mission.

Richardson said safe parking and camping sites could be the first step on the path to housing. 

“To be able to give them help and hope and transition out of that station that they’re in so that they can you know, get to permanent housing. That’s the key. That’s the end goal,” Richardson said. 

“Camping provided that first step in terms of individuals feeling safe, and once they feel safe, then they’re more open to services which can lead to housing,” said Carrie Wright, Stockton Economic Development director. 

Wright said the safe sites will also include access to homeless services. 

“The most successful examples we found were those that did provide the in-depth services, the wraparound services, versus just having a site where people can park a car,” Wright said. “So that’s what we’re looking to create so that we can really get people to the next step.”

The city is looking for providers who can operate and manage the program, which will be funded by money from the American Rescue Plan. Currently, the city is considering two city-owned properties and one state-owned property as possible locations. 

“It would need to have fencing, access, a storage place, a place to park or camp. They would need to have internet service — or that to be able to be brought in — water, bathrooms, meal delivery,” Wright said. 

Wright said the site should also be a one-stop-shop to access homeless services. 

“If there’s no 211 navigation center, it’s just keeping people living in a campground, and that’s not going to solve anything,” Wright told FOX40. 

Richardson is on board, but he said he foresees a number of challenges before the proposal becomes a reality. 

“It’s not popular to have, you know, to have a homeless operation in your backyard. So, therein lies the challenge. Where do you put this,” Wright said. 

The request for statement qualifications is due May 5. The city is also open to public input.