Cars to Housing

A new 90-day transitional program for families experiencing homelessness

In Snohomish County, it is estimated that a third of unsheltered people live in their vehicles, many of those are families. With no vacancies in the current emergency shelter units, an increasing number of families opt to live together inside their vehicles.

The Cars to Shelter program seeks to address this gap in services by providing safe parking coupled with case management services to these families. The aim is for the families to secure permanent housing or other shelter units within 90 days.

Support from community groups and funding from City of Everett

Everett Faith in Action and Interfaith Family Shelter are partnering to launch the program. The City of Everett is awarding an initial grant of $25,000 for site enhancements and case management services. Once the program has fully launched, Interfaith Family Shelter will pursue operational funding from multiple grand funders and donors. Community sponsors include: Everett Foursquare, First Presbyterian Everett, Bethel Baptist, Everett United Church of Christ, Our Savior’s Lutheran, Trinity Lutheran Everett, Millenia Ministries, Reach Church, Mercy Watch, and Everett Gospel Mission.

Representatives from Everett Faith in Action and Interfaith Family Shelter meeting with Congressman Rick Larsen (second from left) about the Cars to Housing program

Frequently Asked Questions

The Cars to Housing program is available to families with children.

How will it work? The program will be hosted at a local church. All personnel and case management services are provided by Interfaith Family Shelter staff. There are five designated parking spots for families to start, each spaced with at least one vacant spot between parked vehicles. The spots will be available only to families with children. Families will be issued a parking permit to validate their participation. A portable toilet will be provided for the convenience of the families enrolled in the program only. Case management services, including screening, intake, parking resident affairs and rehousing plans, will be provided on site. Pets are allowed, but must remain under owner’s control at all times. No open flames allowed. No illegal behavior, weapons or substances allowed.

Will this decrease the safety of the neighborhood? No. Based on other safe parking models we have studied, safe parking lots actually increase safety factors. Because families are invested in their sleep safety, parking families are the first to report unwelcome or suspicious behavior.

Is this an efficient use of funds? Yes. While the $25,000 grant for the pilot program sounds like a lot of money, the majority of the funding will be applied to Interfaith Family Shelter’s case management and rehousing services, which are essential to help families secure housing within 90 days.

Is local law enforcement aware? Yes. Leaders from Interfaith Family Shelter and Everett Faith in Action are working with local emergency personnel to establish safety measure and best practices for Cars to Housing.

How will local property values be affected by this program? We at Interfaith Family Shelter believe that property values will not be impacted by this program. Conditions that would negatively impact property values include scenarios where families experiencing vehicular homelessness are forced to park at random places on neighborhood streets.

How can I help the Cars to Housing program succeed? By supporting Interfaith Family Shelter, you’ll be supporting the program. Financial donations are always appreciated. In-kind donations of clothing, non-perishable food and household items that can be provided to families are always needed. Visit How to Help for more information.