A Victoria homeless woman is urging the city to provide free parking and extended hours for those living in homeless shelters.
Willi Boepple has spent nearly 40 years as a goat farmer, but lost her home in January when the farm owners decided to sell the property.
Boepple couldn’t find another place for her herd, and after a few months near Duncan she ended up at a homeless shelter in Victoria. The only thing of any value she has been able to keep is her truck — and that is now in jeopardy.
The 60-year-old has racked up more than $800 in parking tickets she can’t afford to pay. All those tickets has led to Boepple ending up on a tow list, which means if she gets another ticket her vehicle could be gone.
“I have some health conditions that are getting worse, not better, and I started finding I could keep moving my vehicle around every two hours,” Boepple said.
“I have boxes of books in storage, but the only thing I have of any value is my truck.”
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Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says city staff are compassionate and will not take away someone’s vehicle in this situation.
One of Boepple’s suggestions is for the city to provide parking permits for people living in homeless shelters.
“A kind of a permit system we could have from our rear view mirrors, so that people that are homeless and living in shelters don’t have to give them up,” Boepple suggested.
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It’s an idea Helps says the city has tried and won’t do again.
“The city used to give out passes to non-profits for parking,” Helps said, “but the reality is there are more non-profits and clients than there are parking spots in the city.”
Helps says instead of focusing on parking for the homeless, the city is focusing its efforts on improving housing conditions for those struggling.
As of May 1, the city started charging for parking on Sundays, which is expected to add between $600,000 and $1 million to an already $8 million revenue stream from paid parking.