Advocates Call For Safe Space For Car Dwellers - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Advocates Call For Safe Space For Car Dwellers

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GEORGETOWN, De-People in Sussex County say there is a growing number of people living in cars in Georgetown.  Now advocates are calling for a designated safe space for these car dwellers on county property.

On a given night--Housing Alliance Delaware says more than one thousand people in Delaware are homeless, sleeping on the street, in cars or abandoned buildings.

Often--those sleeping in cars deal with run-ins with the law. But this could all change if the county and town approve a potential parking lot designated for car dwellers.

"They're just buying a nice car and living in it and not telling anybody about it, because they're afraid they will be pulled over and given more tickets and fines and all that so they try and stay invisible."

Martin, a local advocate and director of The Shepherd's Office, which works primarily with homeless people, cites a lack of affordable housing as the problem.

He says a parking lot such as this would be located right off of Dupont Blvd. in Georgetown near the KFC. 

 "I think it would be a great idea if they would have, or establish some area somewhere where they can park their cars or even help them with homelessness," Carla Kelley told WBOC. 

Micahel Faber, a resident of Sussex County says at one point he lived in his car. He says he supports the idea--but a comprehensive plan is needed to permanently fix the issue. 

 "I think if we're just saying 'oh, you can live in your car for as long as you want,' I don't know if that's best because what's the motivation to keep moving forward and keep getting better?" he said.

He also said you never know what type of people the parking lot may attract, though he said stigmas are not representative of every person who is homeless.

"I think we all need to work together and make sure everyone is comfortable," he said. 

Martin says the parking lot would only be available for a six month period--and car dwellers would have to be employed in order to utilize it.

He plans to use existing space, and is only requesting around 3 acres of the 29 acre property which is owned by the county.

"The police would know about it, we'll do a verification check on their employment and we'll double check," he said.

But the County says they have not taken a position on the parking lot, and Martin will need approval from the Town of Georgetown as well, because the parcel of land is within town limits. 

Donald Mullen is a manager at a local store directly near the land. He says he feels other shop owners may be hesitant.

"Anything that can help them would be a good idea. I just would be concerned about the area, you know what I mean, because like I said, in the summer time, it's really busy, the parking lot is really full during the summer, you got a lot of people that come from out of state," he said.

Mullen says his number one concern would be car dwellers and their safety. 

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