VANCOUVER, Wash. (KPTV) – City Hall was a packed house Saturday morning, full of Vancouver community members eager to comment on the latest proposed safe-stay station.
There are already two safe-stay communities in Vancouver, one on Northeast 51st Circle and another on East Fourth Square Boulevard.
The third proposed site is on West 11th Street downtown, and for at least a month business owners and neighbors have been voicing their concerns. At Saturday’s meeting, several people asked if there were other possible sites and were looking at additional camping downtown, which they said would be handled daily.
Related: Vancouver’s 3rd ‘Safe Stay Community’ for homeless residents
The city says camping is not allowed within 1,000 feet of these safe-stay communities, and its homeless resources and aid groups will still enforce that rule, as they do at the other two locations.
Tom Phelan owns a property about half a block from the proposed downtown site, and while he wants the homeless community to get the help they need, he doesn’t think the site is a good fit for the city.
“I’m concerned about the safety of the people there,” Phelan said. “I’m also concerned about aesthetics and what I think is the future and future of downtown. I’ve watched it transform from a place that’s not great for over 40 years to a place where people want to come, live, have fun.”
Related: The City of Vancouver has shared its first Safe Living Community 6-Month Progress Report.
Linda Glover, who has owned a business on Main Street for 20 years, said the location makes sense because it’s where many homeless people live.
“They choose to live downtown and I choose to have businesses downtown and we have to respect that,” Glover said. “They’re here and instead of having them camp out and move around and be shunned or yelled at, I think it’s better if the city gives them a place to go and feel safe. They are connected to services that take those next steps to becoming a self-sufficient citizen.
The next online listening session will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. Click here for more information and a link to stream.
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