Millennial Pastor Dr. Kenneth Anderson Opening First “Safe Car Parking” Site at Williams Chapel Baptist Church in Oakland

Rev. Demetrius Burnett presents the first $12,500 for the safe car park program to Williams Chapel Millennial Pastor Dr. Kenneth Anderson. Williams Chapel is one of four churches so far that have agreed to become safe sites for homeless people to park and sleep in their cars overnight. The program is being funded by a $50,000 grant from Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan’s office. “The goal isn’t just to have them live in their cars forever; the goal is to get people the permanent housing that they deserve,” Chan said. Photo by Amir Saadiq

“We’re not going to throw folks away,” said Dr. Kenneth Anderson at a press conference on Monday to signal the opening of the first “Safe Car Parking” site in Oakland.

Williams Chapel Baptist Church is offering space for 10 cars to park overnight, starting in about a week. Working with the Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) headed by Pastor Ken Chambers and community and foundation sponsors, not only parking, but other support services will be offered.

Funding for “Safe Car Parking” comes from Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, who promised last year that she would offer $50,000 from her office budget to launch the Williams Chapel Site. Three additional churches signed on and March 18 marked the beginning.

Four sites will be open by mid-April starting with Williams Chapel, then West Side Missionary Baptist Church, Corinthian Baptist Church, and Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church. Daytime services and assistance will be offered at West Side Missionary Baptist Church.

The goal of the program is ultimately to find stable housing for all families. So far 105 families have signed up. Anderson is particularly committed to keeping students safe and providing services they need to finish their education.

When asked about the Williams Chapel 80-unit senior housing project, Chan’s Chief of Staff Dave Brown said Oakland funds, “went very quickly. We are searching for other funding now, perhaps from cities not using all their money.”

“We don’t just focus on Sunday morning,” said Anderson. “We are sorry when folks ask for help, that the answer is ‘you can park here,’ but we are making a four-to-six year commitment and it’s a start.”

For more information, contact Supervisor Chan’s office at  (510) 548-1277.


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