about us

Ending homelessness is about creating pathways to stable housing.

Founded in 2017, Safe Parking LA has evolved to become the largest safe parking program in Los Angeles and the only provider of safe lots exclusively focused on vehicular homelessness. We operate in San Fernando Valley, Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles, and West Los Angeles, including a program on the Veteran’s Administration campus.

our history

Safe Parking LA was founded through the tireless efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers – led by Pat and Ira Cohen, along with Scott Sale, MD, and later joined by Emily Uyeda Kantrim – who advocated to make the safe parking strategy possible in Los Angeles. They learned of the safe parking model from Santa Barbara and dreamed of bringing the concept back to their community via their temple, Leo Baeck.

Before 2014, it was illegal to reside in a vehicle in Los Angeles. Once the laws changed, Safe Parking LA’s co-founders – along with a small dedicated group from Leo Baeck – came together and tried again. “We met with city council members to educate them, get their approval, and figure out how we would raise money. It took us four years to open our first lot,” says Pat.

The untiring commitment of Pat, Ira, Scott, Emily and others to the mission shepherded Safe Parking LA to become the organization it is today. The first lot opened at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Koreatown, which continues to house Safe Parking LA’s main office.


Safe Parking LA provides safe overnight parking to facilitate stability and housing in Los Angeles County for individuals living in their vehicles, and advocates for fair and equitable treatment and resources for the unhoused.


Individuals and families living in their vehicles will have an expedited path to housing through a system that opens doors.


  • We strive for connection with others
  • We support individual choice
  • We treat people with dignity, respect, and compassion
  • We act with urgency to make an impact

who we are

innovative solutions

By employing underutilized parking lots, Safe Parking LA fills a gap in homeless services and addresses the unique problems faced by adults and families whose only source of shelter is their vehicle. Our programs provide safety through secure overnight parking, basic dignity by restoring much-needed access to restrooms and running water, and empowerment through strengths-based case management to facilitate pathways to stable housing.

the need is critical

According to the 2022 Homeless Count, 69,144 people are experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County. People experiencing vehicular homelessness comprise 39% of Los Angeles County’s unsheltered homeless population. Safe Parking LA bridges a gap in services by addressing the unique needs of residents whose only source of shelter is their vehicle.

A January 2021 report from the Economic Roundtable predicts that massive job losses caused by the pandemic will leave tens of thousands of low-wage American workers without homes over the next 3 years, and the number of additional working-age adults who are homeless will reach more than 52,000 in LA County, nearly doubling by 2024.

The need for effective solutions to the problem of vehicular homelessness in Los Angeles is critical. In an environment where public resources are limited for people who live in their vehicles, local government relies on organizations like Safe Parking LA for help.

DEI statement

Safe Parking LA is committed to aligning our mission, vision, and values in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Safe Parking LA is rooted in our dedication to deliver services with dignity, respect, and compassion. It is the policy of Safe Parking LA to value and uplift all identities, characteristics, perspectives, and lived experiences.

View Safe Parking LA’s Strategic Plan.