Safe Parking  & Symposium recap – March 2024

Friend of CHOA,

Hope you are well.  Glad to continue to share all that is going on, for housing, in Arcadia.  There is becoming such a diversity of efforts, I think there is something for everyone.  See if you like to join in on one of these efforts.

Below is what is in this newsletter:

  1. Safe Parking is a new effort for CHOA.  We are working to setup the partnerships and details, and hope to start in 2025.  Safe Parking is for the unhoused living in their cars, parking on church parking lots. Many of those living in their cars are still functional, attending college, or working at a job.  They need to maintain their cars, and the program helps them progress towards housing.  Learn more about the Safe Parking Program below, and possibly you and your church can join in to make this a reality.
  2. CHOA is having another Sharing Session, our in-person gatherings, to give you all updates on what is going on.  It’ll be on Saturday, April 20th, from 9:30am to 11:30am, at Hill’s Church.  Come join us.  We will emphasize the Safe Parking Program, and you can hear directly from the main partners.  We will also provide updates on the other efforts.  We hope to have 3 City Councilmembers join us.
  3. The Homelessness Symposium Feb. 29th was a major success, discussing and sharing what is working in regards to cities’ approach to homelessness.  The Community Center was filled with CIty Councilmember, City Staff and service partners across the region.  We show some pictures and provides updates below.

As you can see, many housing efforts are occurring in Arcadia.  Thank God!

–Mike Veerman
CHOA Team Lead

Safe Parking Program

Safe Parking is another CHOA top effort this year. We are making all the necessary preparations, and we hope to open in 2025.

A Safe Parking Program provides a secure place for people living in their cars to park overnight. CHOA is working towards starting our Safe Parking Program in 2025 with several churches offering their parking lots for the Program.

The key to this effort is providing safe places for people living in their cars to park at night. When they park on the streets, they are subject to harassment, getting parking tickets, and having no place to use a bathroom.

A Safe Parking Program is more than just a place to park overnight.  Potential parkers are vetted; they must want to get into housing, and they must have a vehicle that is registered, insured and in working condition.

Parkers receive case management as part of the Program.  The case managers connect the Parkers to needed resources, advise on finding employment, assist with housing document readiness and provide housing navigation. CHOA is in discussion with Foothill Unity Center as the Program Manager for the CHOA Safe Parking Program.

Church parking lots are ideal sites for a Safe Parking Program. Typical safe parking hours are 7pm to 7am and are set by the church and the Program Managers. Each church parking lot in the program should be able to accommodate a minimum of 5 parkers and have accessible bathrooms.

There are two churches in Arcadia that are interested in possibly becoming host sites for the CHOA Safe Parking Program. This is an encouraging start! 

CHOA is talking to the city of Arcadia, to assure that a Safe Parking Program aligns with the city’s expectation and requirements and that a CHOA Safe Parking Program would receive city support.

The SGV Safe Parking Program has run a successful Program for two years at a church in Pasadena.  The SGV Safe Parking Program is a subcommittee (see the link below) of Making Housing and Community Happen, and they now have tremendous experience in running the program. CHOA is fortunate that two of our members are also members of the SGV Safe Parking subcommittee.

CHOA envisions many churches working together to make a CHOA Safe Parking Program in Arcadia a reality.  Some churches might offer their parking lot.  Other churches will help with the finances.  Even other churches will bring the “love of God”; fellowship or showing God’s hospitality by providing food or other needs. By working together, we can make this happen.  And, with coordination by the CHOA team, no single church takes on all the work and responsibility…rather, we do this together!

Please pray and discern whether your church could be a partner in this upcoming Safe Parking effort.  If so, please let CHOA know by responding to this email, or by contacting us on our website (see the link below).

CHOA Sharing Session on Saturday, April 20th 

Our next Sharing Session will be on Saturday, April 20th, from 9:30am to 11:30am (see the flier below).  CHOA has these in-person gatherings every 6 month, so everyone gets an opportunity to hear what is going on, and to make personal connections with others working on housing in Arcadia.  We need to connect.  We keep these short, just 2 hours, in the morning.  You will learn so much on housing efforts in Arcadia in a short period of time.  Join us!!

The main topic in this gathering will be the new Safe Parking Program. You will directly hear from each partner.  You can see this is feasible…when we work together.  Bring key folks from your church to learn how you can be a partner, directly making housing possible for a few parkers.

We thank Hills Church for hosting our Sharing Session again.  They hosted last year, in April 2023 as well.  We are so glad and grateful to return to Hills Church.  


Remember, Hills Church has a free food distribution every 2nd and 4th Saturday, from 9am to 12pm.  About 200 folks come each Saturday.  See more details on their food program in the link below.  Send folks you know that need this extra boost of food for their families, helping to make ends meet.

We have invited 3 City Councilmembers, and allow them to give their perspectives on recent housing efforts in Arcadia.

CHOA will also give updates on other key efforts, particularly on the Housing Element, bringing Affordable Housing to Arcadia.

See the link below for the event flier.  Please hand this out to friends and neighbors, and post this flier at your church.

CHOA Sharing Session flier for April 20th

RSVP with the link below, and let us know you are joining us on Saturday morning on April 20th.

RSVP for April 20th

Homelessness Symposium recap – Feb. 29th

Mayor April Verlato did it again.  She created another effort to allow us all improve on handling issues in housing – in this case homelessness – better.  She and the city staff put together panel after panel addressing different topics/efforts to engage with the issue of homelessness.  She tried this 4 years ago, but the COVID spread forced the event to be cancelled.  It worked now!!  It was inspiring, engaging, and very educational.

The Community Center was filled with city councilmembers, city staff, and service providers from many cities across the region (see the pictures below).  Importantly, the Symposium had panelists from different cities, providing different perspectives.  The topics ranged from many solutions on homelessness, allowing us all to hear what is working, what is not, and what are new ideas. 

Below is a link to the notes CHOA took during the symposium.  These notes are not meant to include all that was presented, but does provide the highlights; there is good details here if you like to glean from what the panelists presented.

CHOA Notes of Homelessness Symposium

Mayor April Verlato welcoming everyone
Supervisor Katryn Barger welcoming and encouraging everyone to address this regional issue of homelessness
City Manager Domnic Lazzaretto was the MC for the Homelessness Symposium
5 CHOA team members attended the Homelessness Symposium