U District Safe Lot

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What is a Safe Lot?

A Safe Lot provides individuals with a safe and stable place to park their vehicles so they may remain compliant with local laws, have access to restroom facilities, and be able to regularly access social services. It also creates a welcoming space of belonging within the community for participants.

The U District Safe Lot is a program designed for people who are experiencing homelessness and using their vehicles as their primary residence.  In spring 2020, UHeights opened our parking lot to host the overnight U District Safe Lot, which serves up to 10 vehicles (no RVs), provides a safe place to park, access to onsite hygiene services, and case management.

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This image shows Safe Lots around the United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). Please notice how only six of many are displayed for the public's knowledge. Most Safe Lots are looked down upon in communities as they are most times stereotyped as hosting "dangerous people" or "drug addicts," a recurrent stigma when describing people who are experiencing homelessness.

Learn more about the U District Safe Lot Program!

Want to learn more about the program? Here are podcasts featuring a few folks from the UHeights Safe Lot program.

Safe Lot FAQs

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What are the Safe Lot operating hours?

Safe Lot residents have designated parking spaces at UHeights from 7 PM - 7:30 AM Monday - Friday and 4 PM Saturday - 7:30 AM Monday. Safe Lot residents are able to stay and use the parking lot all day on Sunday.

Who is eligible to live in the Safe Lot?

Up to 10 passenger vehicle (non-RVs) households who have active insurance for their vehicle and own their vehicle are eligible. There is also an effort to give priority to families, students, and elderly people living in their vehicles. RVs or other similar vehicles are not permitted at the U District Safe Lot. As an organization who serves young children, all incoming residents must take and pass a background check.

What services and amenities are provided to residents of the Safe Lot?

  • Designated parking spot

  • Washer and dryer (available by appointment with UHeights Facilities Team)

  • Mobile Shower Station (provided Sunday-Tuesday by City of Seattle)

  • Meal Services (dinner provided by community partners on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday + breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Sunday)

  • Case Management Support

  • Access to Porta Potty and Tiny House

  • Reduced Membership to U District YMCA (facilities include exercise equipment, showers, and more!)

  • Free access to all UHeights events and classes

Who pays for the Safe Lot?

The City of Seattle designated around $375,000 for vehicle homelessness to pay for case management, utilities, and additional basic living supplies.

Who runs the Safe Lot?

The Safe Lot is managed through a partnership of three organizations. University Gathering UMC leases the parking spaces and hosts regular activities for Safe Lot residents. Urban League does intake, case management, and is primarily responsible for the Safe Lot residents. UHeights provides the free parking spaces and activities for the Safe Lot residents.