Vancouver Housing Authority will name its newest homeless shelter after Bertha Baugh, a founding member of the NAACP Vancouver branch.
Last week, VHA closed on the purchase of the 63-room Howard Johnson motel near Vancouver Mall for use as a noncongregate shelter. It was announced on Wednesday that the property, which is not yet open, will be known as Bertha Cain Baugh Place.
Baugh became active in several local organizations, including the NAACP, YWCA and League of Women Voters, after moving to Vancouver in 1945 with her husband, David. She died in 2017, just shy of her 99th birthday.
Andy Silver, VHA’s director of supportive services, said Baugh’s experience working in Vanport highlights the history of housing, race and redlining.
“People of color are disproportionately represented in the homeless population — both nationally and in Clark County and Vancouver. That is a direct result of the way we as a country have used housing to benefit certain racial groups to the detriment of others,” Silver said in a news release.
Bertha Cain Baugh Place is among VHA’s efforts to redress wrongs of the past.
A dedication will be held at a later date. The shelter is a joint venture of the city of Vancouver, Clark County and VHA, which are in the process of reviewing proposals from potential shelter operators.