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Seaside City Council passes ‘Safe Overnight Parking’ site for homeless MPUSD students

SEASIDE, Calif. (KION-TV): Seaside City Council unanimously passed a Safe Overnight Parking site for students who go to any of the schools in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District and are experiencing homelessness.

MPUSD said the program is specifically for its students and their families living in their cars. MPUSD will be working together with One Starfish Safe Parking and Supportive Services, which is a social service provider. The goal is to have no more than 20 vehicles allowed in the parking site at the Monterey Adult School in Seaside overnight.

Seaside city leaders said they are all hands on deck to help and address homelessness.

"We just want the community to know that we are looking at all the different aspects of this particular issue," said Seaside Councilmember, Alex Miller. "We've worked really hard and closely with Starfish to make sure the program is ran appropriately, and that the cars that are parked there, we have some control over of who's coming and who's going."

According to MPUSD, they said 15 to 19 children attending schools within the district were reported living in a car with their families. MPUSD staff said they needed to step in and provide solutions for their students.

"We need to do everything possible for our students to be successful," said Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Superintendent, PK Diffenbaugh. "That includes, most importantly, secure housing, this is just a stop gas measure, this is not seen as a permanent solution, but it's something we feel like it's necessary," said Superintendent Diffenbaugh. "While we work with the families on a more permanent solution."

Superintendent Diffenbaugh said they haven't launched the application process, but they do have between 15–20 families who they think can qualify for the program. The City of Seaside said there is no time limit as to how long a family can stay at the parking site.

They just have to work towards getting permanent housing. MPUSD staff said the safe parking site program doesn't stop there for their unhoused students.

"We have a program with the motel 6 where you can get temporary housing over the weekends," said Superintendent Diffenbaugh. "We also have a program that allows first and last month's rent to be paid, so, families can get into permanent housing," said Superintendent Diffenbaugh. "And we have our own homeless liaison that helps our families go through the system and find shelter either temporary or permanent housing."

If students need these types of resources, they can go to their school office and meet with a community liaison.

To qualify for the program, families will need to register their vehicles, and the only disqualifying factors are families with people experiencing drug or alcohol addiction or people who are registered sex offenders

MPUSD said they're working with One Starfish to have an access box for police and fire to enter the parking site when it's closed and also establish a protocol for emergencies at the site."

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Nataly Gutierrez


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