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Bellevue spends $672K in finding operator for homeless parking zone program

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(The Center Square) – The City of Bellevue has an operator for its program that provides a safe space for homeless people living in their vehicles.

The city reached an agreement with 4 Tomorrow in the amount of $672,350 for 2024. The agreement also includes an option to extend to June 1, 2025, for a total contract amount not to exceed $900,000, to complete the development of, and facilitate, the Safe Parking Pilot Program.

Bellevue originally dedicated up to $450,000 annually in 2023 and 2024 to implement the pilot program as part of the city’s homelessness response efforts.

The city first issued a request for proposals in February, but no viable operators came forward.

The Safe Parking pilot program intends to provide a parking area that is off-street for homeless people living in their vehicles. The Lincoln Center in Bellevue is the set location for the program, with 37,000 square feet of parking space. The center can provide space for up to 20 people.

4 Tomorrow is a Bellevue-based agency that focuses on serving vulnerable people and connecting to communities of color. The agency’s next steps include restroom and kitchen repairs, laundry facilities, interior painting and furniture, and security improvements, as well as installing fencing around the safe parking area, as well as a welcome booth.

Parking programs have seen mixed results throughout the U.S.

San Jose’s pilot program cost $250,000 in its first year and was built to serve 17 cars at a time, but only hosted 4 or 5 each night on average.

In San Francisco, one government-managed parking lot where the city provides RVs to homeless people costs taxpayers $12,000 per month per RV to operate.

During a briefing on the Safe Parking pilot program on Feb. 5, Bellevue City Manager’s Office Assistant Director Bianca Siegel said that the city has reached out to the parking zone’s neighboring hotel and went door-to-door with other neighboring businesses to inform them of the program.

The project team anticipates welcoming the first clients to the site by early spring.

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