Vancouver city staff recommends moving forward with Safe Stay Community downtown

Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 10:09 PM PDT
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VANCOUVER Wash. (KPTV) - Vancouver city officials announced their plan for a third Safe Stay Community on Thursday at a City Hall community meeting. They say people had a lot of mixed feedback about its downtown location.

People who live near the third proposed Safe Stay Community in downtown Vancouver said many neighbors have concerns.

“At first I was really against this,” Miguel Sanchez, a Vancouver resident, said.

The city said it just closed a two-week public comment period on the third proposed community. After reviewing input from the public, the city said they found two major themes.

“There was a bucket of people who had concerns about the operations of the site, ‘how do these actually work, how do people get selected to get in there, what happens if they get kicked out?’” Lon Pluckhahn, Deputy City Manager for the City of Vancouver, said.

They said the biggest concern they heard was safety.

“Ensuring that those who are brought in, those who are working on rehabilitating themselves, finding that next path in life they have that stability and security. We also heard about safety from residents and neighbors,” William Cooley. Community Engagement Manager for the City of Vancouver, said.

SEE ALSO: Second Safe Stay Community opens in Vancouver

And city staff said they’ll recommend the downtown location at 415 W. 11th Street as an appropriate site to move forward with a Safe Stay Community.

“We believe it addresses many of the concerns we heard from the community that William mentioned regarding the negative impacts of unsheltered homelessness that already exists in this area,” Jamie Spinelli, Homeless Response Coordinator for the City of Vancouver, said.

People who showed up to the community meeting said it’s a start.

“I see a community there that could work. I think we should have something broader in Clark County,” Kimberlee Elbon, a Clark County Resident said.

Residents like Miguel said the opportunity to get his questions answered was really helpful.

“I think with the HART team and talking with them and the Vancouver Police Department, it sounds positive, so that’s what I can hope for,” Sanchez said.

Next the city will formally present this recommendation to move forward with a third Safe Stay Community to the city council on Monday.