City of Vancouver opens first Safe Stay Community
Vancouver, Washington – On Dec. 23, 2021, the City of Vancouver opened its first Safe Stay Community, providing the most vulnerable in the community with warm, dry and secure surroundings where they have access to high-quality, compassionate life-saving and social services while they work to transition out of homelessness.
The Safe Stay Community, located at 11400 NE 51st Circle on city-owned right of way along an undeveloped cul-de-sac in the North Image neighborhood (view map here), provides 20 modular Pallet shelters housing up to 40 people. The Safe Stay Community program is the direct result of a galvanized vision at the City to create an effective path for those seeking a permanent way to get off the streets.
“Many at the City of Vancouver have been diligently working towards this achievement for most of the year, so to finally see it come together gives me reason to smile,” City Manager Eric Holmes said. “I am grateful to the Mayor and City Council for understanding and embracing the urgency to address homelessness. The Safe Stay Community is making a world of difference to those who moved into the shelters just before Christmas, offering them renewed hope and opportunity in 2022.”
For the safety and security of Safe Stay Community residents, the site is fenced and staffed 24/7 by nonprofit operator Outsiders Inn. In addition to the security measures, the site includes trash receptacles, sanitation services, portable toilets and handwashing stations, meeting and office spaces and access to supportive services provided by local agencies.
“This Safe Stay Community is helping address immediate humanitarian needs and the urgent safety, livability, social justice and public health concerns resulting from the homelessness crisis,” Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle said. “It’s also the result of the impassioned work of many at the City who care deeply about addressing homelessness.”
The City of Vancouver plans to open two more Safe Stay Communities before next summer, equitably distributed around the City following the site selection criteria approved by City Council.
“Safe Stay Communities are not a long-term solution to ending homelessness, but they’re an immediate, compassionate alternative for people living on our streets so they can move toward living indoors again,” Holmes said.