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.
Safe Parking LA is a project of Community Partners, a nonprofit fiscal sponsor and intermediary organization since 1992.
Safe Parking LA’s history began in 2010, when co-founders Pat and Ira Cohen, along with Scott Sale, MD, started looking for ways to help people they saw living in their cars. They learned of the safe parking model from Santa Barbara and dreamed of bringing the concept back to Los Angeles via their temple, Leo Baeck.
Before 2014, it was illegal to reside in a vehicle in Los Angeles. Once the laws changed, Pat, Ira, and Scott – 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, 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, where Reverend Anna Olson and her congregants continue to house Safe Parking LA’s main office.