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Safe parking lot in Longmont offers homeless guests stability for the night

Guest at HOPE SafeLot
Posted at 1:00 PM, Jul 16, 2021

LONGMONT, Colo. — Trisha Gautney loves her Jeep Wrangler. From its pink rock lights to each of her dozens of bumper stickers.

"Everybody loves it. I get waves all the time," said Gautney "Love my jeep. It's my first car ever."

But for Gautney, the car means much more than just a ride.

"It means a safe place to sleep," she said. "It is expensive right now. So it's a little trouble trying to find a place. But I got my Jeep, which is pretty reliable. Keeps me out of living on the streets."

The "SafeLot" in Longmont's Westview Presbyterian Church offers drive-in guests a chance to sleep in peace. Run by an organization called Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement (HOPE), the goal for organizers is to help homeless residents of Longmont to find a stable place to live.

"It just takes the need for survival out of it," said Renee Ikemire, the SafeLot program manager for HOPE. "They have a little bit of peace. So that that will allow their brain to focus on other things."

Hope has three lots for homeless residents in Longmont that can accommodate up to a dozen cars at a time. Each lot offers secure parking, food, shower facilities, and security. Renee says it is the security needed to help people out of poverty.

"We have had 27 successful exits since the program started in June of last year," said Ikemire. "That's my goal for everyone here is to get into a stable situation of their own."