After months living out of an RV at a sprawling homeless camp north of downtown San Jose, Heidi White was relieved to move her 1995 Ford motorhome into the city’s first managed 24/7 safe parking lot.

She no longer needed to worry about encampment fires or drug dealing outside her door, and staff running the site atop a tree-dotted lot next to the Santa Teresa VTA light rail station in South San Jose promised to help her find an affordable apartment.

But six months later, White, 56, who lives with her dogs Pumpkin and Jake, said she’s no closer to securing a lasting home. While she and around 10 other vehicle dwellers said they’re thankful for having a safe place to stay, they described feeling stuck at the lot, without a clear plan for what comes next.

“They brought us here under the pretext that they were going to help us get out of our RVs and get into homes,” White said.

As residents grow increasingly frustrated with an estimated 700 lived-in RVs scattered across San Jose’s streets and parks, the city is among the latest in the Bay Area to turn to safe parking lots — while also adopting tougher restrictions on oversized vehicles parked on city streets.

City officials have pitched the sites — which provide utilities, security and case management — as a fast and cost-effective way to help people off the street and into permanent homes. But with a severe shortage of affordable housing in the region, most VTA lot residents have been waiting at the site for months.

According to the city, just seven of the 55 households that have stayed at the 42-space lot since opening last July have found lasting homes. Three moved to shelters, and three voluntarily returned to the street. The rest remain at the site, which has no strict time limit on stays.

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The VTA lot — and a second site in North San Jose for up to 85 RVs set to open this fall — have also faced delays and neighborhood opposition, underscoring the challenges of giving homeless people refuge at public parking lots as officials seek to expand sites citywide.

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