Vancouver uses Outsiders Inn to run homeless campsites


Vancouver City Council voted unanimously on Monday to enter into a contract with Outsiders Inn, a Vancouver-based non-profit organization, to operate campsites for the homeless.

Vancouver will provide Outsiders Inn $ 571,148 to manage day-to-day operations. Adam Kravitz, executive director of Outsiders Inn, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that most of the budget is spent on staff to ensure campsites remain safe, secure and clean.

The non-profit organization is a peer-run organization whose trained staff have experience with homelessness. This experience allows Outsiders Inn to understand what support is needed, as well as how to provide it, said Jamie Spinelli, the city’s homeless resource coordinator, in a press release.

“What we’re envisioning is essentially a gated community,” Kravitz said. “These are places where people can leave their belongings, feel safe and be supported. “

Campsites are an option for those living in tents or homeless in the Vancouver area, and they serve as a way of transitioning from “tent to rental,” he said.

The city’s goal is to establish three “solidarity campsites” by the end of the year, according to the statement. This should help about a quarter of Vancouver’s estimated homeless population.

“Our city’s Temporary Support Camping Program is not designed to solve homelessness in the community, but rather to mitigate some of the most immediate and severe impacts on people and place,” Eric said. Holmes, city manager of Vancouver, in the statement. “Because these sites are taken care of, campground residents will have better access to services, increased stability, and safer, healthier and more humane living conditions as individuals strive to resolve their homelessness issue. “

Each site would support 20 to 40 residents and provide on-site showers and toilets, as well as screens or fences. Outsiders Inn will include outreach teams and providers to help homeless people find housing, jobs and health services, Kravitz said.

The locations have not yet been chosen.

Once the city has selected potential sites for the campgrounds, any resident or business owner within 1,200 feet of the sites will be notified and may participate in a public comment period.

There have been concerns about how the campsites will affect neighboring areas and the environment.

Council member Bart Hansen voted against the ordinance last week and said it would harm too much of the city’s natural land with water contamination. He also said the fire could potentially spread from camps to nearby trees or houses.

The ordinance protects ecologically sensitive areas within the framework of “camping impact zones”. It prohibits camping in certain areas 200 feet near waterways, including the Columbia River, Vancouver Lake, Burton Canal, Peterson Canal, Fisher Creek, and Burnt Bridge Creek.

Outsiders Inn wants to make campsites a welcoming element of neighboring neighborhoods, Kravitz said, which includes taking care of the physical environment in which the community resides.

“I only plan (the camps) to make any area more beautiful,” he said.

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