After major backlash over a transitional housing site location in Redmond, the program may have found a new site.
The proposed location is on 7th street and Evergreen Avenue. The land is owned by the county.
“I was living in my car,” said Safe Parking participant Kim Varner. “On the weeks that I had my daughter, I would go and stay with my friends and sleep on their couch. On the days I didn’t have my daughter, I would sleep in my car.”
Varner has been a part of the Safe Parking Program for about a month. It’s a program that allows those currently without a home to park their car or RV in a safe place.
“I’m a single mom and I haven’t been able to find any place to live that is reasonable housing rates, so when my ex and I split I had to make a choice,” Varner said.
Kim chose to buy an RV and try and survive on the streets. She was without a job during her hardships, and trying to keep a new job wasn’t an easy task either.
“As a full-time employee, you are expected to look a certain way and you can’t when you are living in your car and washing with baby wipes half the time,” Varner said.
Kim and her daughter currently stay in the RV, which resides in the parking lot of the VFW. She is working with different service providers to get back into stable housing.
The Safe Parking program is looking for a place to expand.
“Currently, we only have five spaces available, but we have the funding and ability to help about 40 individuals,” said Safe Parking Program Director Sierra Hopper. “We have a wait list of about 20-25, a lot of those being women with children and families.”
The program tried to expand on city-owned property but was met with extreme opposition from those living near the last proposed area. Most cited the lack of transparency on the location and the program itself.
This time, the program is trying things differently.
“To all the neighbors about 100 letters went out last week on Friday,” said Hopper. “So, we are hoping by sending those out well in advance, and we will avoid the happenings that happened last time.”
The Safe Parking program will hold an open house at Mountain View Fellowship church on Monday at 6:30 p.m. People can voice concerns and receive additional info on the new site location.
“We need people that see us as humans and that we are just in a tough insinuator and are willing to help,” said Varner.