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Dec. 7, 2022

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Vancouver to open first ‘Safe Stay Community’ in North Image neighborhood in December

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
4 Photos
A homeless encampment is pictured in northeast Vancouver in May. The city of Vancouver's "Safe Stay Community" is intended to open in December and will offer a homelike community for people experiencing homelessness. The first site will be located at 11400 N.E. 51st Circle in the North Image neighborhood.
A homeless encampment is pictured in northeast Vancouver in May. The city of Vancouver's "Safe Stay Community" is intended to open in December and will offer a homelike community for people experiencing homelessness. The first site will be located at 11400 N.E. 51st Circle in the North Image neighborhood. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian files) Photo Gallery

The city of Vancouver announced Wednesday the location of its first supportive campsite for people experiencing homelessness will be in the North Image neighborhood and is set to open in December.

Property owners, residents and businesses within 1,200 feet of the site, at 11400 N.E. 51st Circle, will receive letters informing them of the decision. They will be able to provide feedback during a public comment period that ends Dec. 1. Comments will be accepted via email, telephone or online.

City staff will host two virtual community information sessions during the comment period to answer questions, as well as share what their plans are for the supportive site. These meetings will be recorded and posted on the Homelessness Response Plan page on Be Heard Vancouver, as well as the city’s YouTube channel.

Margot Rice, North Image Neighborhood Association treasurer, said she supports the concept of the supportive sites but doesn’t know whether the chosen spot is the best place to begin. She said the decision seems like it was made out of convenience, due to there already being homeless campsites nearby.

“It’s too early to tell to form an opinion,” Rice said.

The property is on city-owned land along an undeveloped cul-de-sac. To follow the city’s camping ordinance, which prohibits camping within 1,000 feet of the supportive sites, city staff will remove multiple homeless encampments near the established location.

The “Safe Stay Community” is a part of the city’s initiative to offer safe shelter to people who are working toward resolving their homelessness. The supportive site is set to provide 20 modular shelters, which will house up to 40 people.

Tim Becker, Vancouver strategic communications manager, said city staff decided to use modular structures from Pallet Shelters instead of tents after conducting research and speaking with cities that had similar encampments. The prefabricated shelters cost more than $7,900 per unit, which adds up to about $160,000 per site.

There will be sanitation services, portable toilets and handwashing stations, congregation spaces, and access to resources provided by local agencies. Outsiders Inn is set to staff and operate the site 24/7. Council members and the mayor lauded the concept during a Nov. 1 council meeting for being homelike and similar to a “village.”

More information about the public comment period can be found at cityofvancouver.us/safestaycomment.

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