Council for the Homeless has crafted a new guide for business owners and their employees who interact with homeless people. It’s simultaneously a tip sheet, how-to guide and list of phone numbers for major resources.
“Business owners are faced with the reality of wanting to be helpful and needing to monitor their property and business for safety and customer access,” Kate Budd, the nonprofit’s executive director, said in a news release. “Our organization advocates that people experiencing homelessness be treated with respect and compassion, and we also recognize businesses have valid concerns and want to do the right thing when it comes to interacting with people who may be exhibiting disruptive behavior.”
Laura Ellsworth, strategic partnerships manager at Council for the Homeless, led the project called the Business Toolkit on Homelessness.
She said someone brought her a copy of a toolkit created for small businesses in San Diego. In March, Ellsworth began working on a version tailored to Clark County businesses. She brought rough drafts of the pamphlet to groups such as the Downtown Camas Business Association, Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, Hazel Dell/Salmon Creek Business Association, Vancouver’s Downtown Association and Southwest Washington Community Health Advocate and Peer Support Network.
“I really tried to get input from all over the county,” Ellsworth said.
iQ Credit Union and Printing Expressly For You helped sponsor the pamphlet, which cost $250 to design and print. Danette LaChapelle, senior vice president of marketing at iQ Credit Union, said they wanted to support the work Council for the Homeless is doing and appreciate that the nonprofit is working with businesses to find solutions.