Who We Serve
A native Angeleno, Michelle has been a Safe Parking LA tennant since early April 2018. Like many of the people who use SPLA lots, Michelle has faced hard times. In the past few years she has been a victim of domestic violence, which played a significant role in her losing her apartment and residing in her car.
A dog trainer, with over twelve years experience, Michelle still works with clients, even while living in her car. A quick look at her Yelp page confirms her talent and stellar reputation. Unfortunately, due to her living situation Michelle has lost clients in her struggle to find affordable housing. Even so, she has a positive attitude and event stated “There’s no reason to quit working! I mean what am I gonna do all day? Just sit around in my car? No thank you”. In addition to her dog training, Michelle is searching for other ways to find work and is currently in Locksmithing School.
Michelle found Safe Parking LA after a conversation with her sister, in which her sister urged her to reach out to churches in an effort to find a safe place to park at night with access to social service resources. Through a few phone calls, Michelle was put in contact with Safe Parking LA founder Scott Sale, who quickly helped Michelle register with Safe Parking LA and park in the St. Mary’s Episcopal lot. Since coming to Safe Parking LA, Michelle has had a safe place to sleep at night, guarded by a security guard and access to a restroom and electrical outlets. Michelle also spoke about how having a schedule of returning to the parking lot each night has really benefited her. She described herself and the other people who use the parking lot as “People who actually want to do something with their lives, we want to strive for something better”. - Kevin Murphy
Since the 1990’s Mindy has worked as a cosmetologist, barber, and esthetician. Mindy routinely works on films in the hair and makeup department, working at many different television and movie sets around the country. This work led Mindy to live in multiple states around the United States. After the economic downturn hit in 2008, Mindy faced a slow progression into vehicular homelessness.
Since 2013, Mindy has lived in her vehicle. After not finding much work in other states, Mindy decided to move to Los Angeles to work in the heart of the entertainment industry. Upon arrival in Los Angeles, Mindy ran into issues having her cosmetology license recognized by California. Realizing she could not afford the high rents of Los Angeles, Mindy continued to live in her vehicle. Although, as she recounts, living in her vehicle in Los Angeles was much different than other states. Mindy stated that in other states she was rarely bothered by people while staying in her car, but in Los Angeles she has been pulled over by the police numerous times and has had individuals knock on and try to break into her car while she was in her vehicle. These frightening experiences led Mindy to seek out a safe place to park.
Mindy found Safe Parking LA in April of 2018 through a quick google search. Upon finding the Safe Parking LA website Mindy entered in her information and was quickly contacted by Safe Parking LA. Within a few days, Mindy was registered to park in the St. Mary’s Episcopal church lot. Having a safe place to park has been one thing Mindy has not had to worry about, however she still is facing all of the logistical and social problems that come with homelessness. Mindy stated that it's hard to connect with other who aren’t homeless when you are homeless. In the industry she works in, connections are crucial, which makes her situation all the more challenging. Despite these obstacles, Mindy has continued to persevere and reach out to social service organizations for help. When asked what she wants in the future Mindy simply responded, “Work. Work is all I want. I just want to work”. - Kevin Murphy
MJ is a 62 year old gentleman who was living in an apartment in South LA until he decided it was not safe for him any longer. He thought living in his car would be better as gang banging bullets would be less likely to penetrate his car than the last time they entered his bedroom. That next morning he abandoned his apartment and headed toward downtown LA. During his quest for safe places to park, he accumulated parking tickets and uncommon moving violations which he could not pay. HIs car was towed and impounded by the City of LA and he resorted to living on the streets and occasionally in a Skid Row shelter. He came to Safe Parking LA through the LavaMae mobile shower program. MJ applied for Safe Parking LA financial assistance for which he qualified so that he could get his car out of the City Car Impound facility. He is happy and back living in his car. Through the Safe Parking case management, MJ is working on his veteran’s benefits and finding stable housing. MJ is also a volunteer for Safe Parking LA helping other “vehicularly homeless” with their tribulations. Without Safe Parking LA, MJ might be one of the 35,000 people literally living on the streets and sidewalks and alleys of LA. At least he has a roof over his head even if it is his car’s roof. MJ does not care. - Scott Sale
Alfred Beltran (AB)
AB is a 52 year old gentleman who has been living in his van for about 9 months. He emailed Safe Parking LA( SPALA) one afternoon looking for more information about possible parking lots where he could sleep safely at night in the Northeast LA neighborhoods. AB got very excited to learn that there might be places off the streets where people like himself could get services and call their home.
AB had been volunteering in his neighborhood with a church food program and wanted to be more involved in procuring lots for Safe Parking. His desire to help and his knowledge of the Northeast neighborhoods was instrumental in SPALA staff meeting the head of one church and the owner of one private parking lot. None of these referrals have led to a SPALA run Safe Parking program, yet.
AB became so involved in his neighborhood that when a seat opened up in the Cypress Park Neighborhood Council, AB ran for the spot and was elected. He very well might be the first person living in a vehicle who is a neighborhood councilman not just in Cypress Park, but in all of the 96 Neighborhood councils throughout LA City.
SPALA is fortunate to have met AB and he is a welcome member of our outreach efforts. - Scott Sale