Staying Safe while Living in a Vehicle

Seattle parish provides safe, overnight parking for people experiencing homelessness.

Red Hut with Sr. Gallagher
Sr. Joan and Sr. Maureen

Homelessness is hard to “solve” because there are so many different causes.  People face so many different circumstances – some are alone, others have children.  Shelters may accept only families or have other requirements.

One way to help for those fortunate enough still have transportation is to find a safe place to park overnight, free from the dangers that come from parking on a deserted street or shopping center parking lot.

Sr. Joan Gallaher, SP, (on right at bottom) volunteers weekly with the Safe Parking Program at Our Lady of Guadalupe (OLG) Parish.  Sr. Maureen Newman (left at bottom) often joins her in cleaning the hut.

To participate, the parish provides a space for up to seven cars, room for a portable toilet and portable hospitality hut.  In the “Red Hut,” participants can heat food, store perishable items and charge their phones.  OLG volunteers clean the hut daily.  St. Vincent de Paul Society volunteers stock it with basic food items.  

The program, in partnership the Seattle’s Urban League, provides safe overnight parking and permits to up to three vehicles of homeless single adults or couples. The League provides and maintains a portable toilet.

During 2021, the program hosted ten families.