Homeless Response

Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis with many causes. Those living on the street or in vehicles face tremendous challenges—from the loss of a job or home to mental health conditions or addiction.

The City is working as a partner alongside Clark County, local service providers, neighborhoods and community leaders to continue to address the crisis of homelessness in our community.


Homeless Assistance and Resources Team (HART)

The Homeless Assistance and Resource Team (HART) serves as a resource to the community by addressing the impacts of unsheltered homelessness, both for those experiencing homelessness and for the rest of the community.  HART’s role is to provide compassionate outreach and assistance to folks living unsheltered, and also serve as a point of contact for community members seeking a response related to issues/concerns about homelessness. That includes responding to reports of active or abandoned campsites, assessing campsites for hygiene/sanitation needs, connecting people living in camps to needed life saving and social services and resources, and educating the community about the City’s role in addressing homelessness is, as well as what the legal parameters are that we are required to work within.

In addition, the team serves as part of the community’s crisis response system, with a focus on homelessness-related street and encampment crises. The team includes staff from the City Manager’s OfficeVancouver Police DepartmentPublic Works Department, and City Attorney’s Office.

Ways to contact the HART Team

Mobile app: Use the MyVancouver mobile app to report concerns to the HART team or ask questions related to homelessness in Vancouver.

Email: hartteam@cityofvancouver.us

Voicemail: 360-487-8626

Report an Issue Related to Homelessness

The Homeless Assistance and Resources Team (HART) serves as a resource to the community, providing outreach, assessments and referrals to the appropriate services for individuals experiencing homelessness. In addition, the team serves as part of the community’s crisis response system, with a focus on homelessness-related street and encampment crises. 

Use the MyVancouver mobile app to report issues to the HART team or ask questions related to homelessness in Vancouver, including:

  • Non-emergency issues, such as behavioral health concerns, unwanted occupation of property, etc. For urgent issues requiring a police officer, please call 9-1-1.
  • Illegal camping or issues associated with active or abandoned camps.
  • Any questions regarding homelessness.

The app is not monitored 24 hours a day. We do our best to respond to requests within 24 hours (excluding weekend or holidays).

Download the app in the Apple App Store or Google Play today.

Safe Stay Communities

Safe Stay Communities

In 2021, Vancouver City Council approved a plan to create temporary, supportive Safe Stay Communities for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in our community. As part of this effort, the City has opened two Stay Communities in Vancouver and is working to open two more by the end of the year.

Safe Stay Communities are temporary housing communities offering residents greater access to services, increased stability, and safe, healthy, and humane living conditions to support transitioning out of homelessness. Each Safe Stay Community has 20 two-person structures that offer safe shelter for up to 40 residents. A nonprofit operator will provide 24/7 onsite management and services.

Health and safety are major priorities for the City and its partners. For this reason, all Safe Stay Communities have screening or fencing, will provide sanitation and hygiene services, and offer a range of health services on site.

Homelessness Response Plan

The City is establishing Safe Stay Communities as part of its Homelessness Response Plan. Previously referred to as supportive campsites, the city’s Safe Stay Communities use modular pallet shelters instead of tents, which offer residents 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.

A Safe Stay Community In Your Neighborhood

These documents are designed to help answer your questions and provide you with some resources to address concerns that may come up around a Safe Stay Community.

Safe Stay 1 – The Outpost

The Safe Stay Community at 11400 N.E. 51st Circle provides 20 modular shelters housing up to 40 people. The site is fenced and staffed 24/7 by the onsite nonprofit operator, Outsiders Inn. It includes trash receptacles and sanitation services, portable toilets and handwashing stations, meeting and office space, and access to supportive services provided by local agencies.

Before opening the City’s first Safe Stay Community, the property located at 11400 N.E. 51st Circle was the site of a sizable homeless encampment. Since the opening a Safe Stay, the number of calls to police for service and officer-initiated activity within a 500-foot radius of the address, has dropped 30 percent over the same period (January-June) compared to 2021. Of the other Fire/EMS-related calls for service within the same radius, the percentage responding specifically to this address dropped from 15.6% to 6% of the total. 

Safe Stay 2 – Hope Village

The Safe Stay Community at 4915 E. Fourth Plain Blvd provides 20 modular shelters housing up to 40 people. The site is fenced and staffed 24/7 by the onsite nonprofit operator, Live Love Outreach. It includes trash receptacles and sanitation services, portable toilets and handwashing stations, meeting and office space, and access to supportive services provided by local agencies. Read the six-month report

Safe Stay 3 – 415 West

The Safe Stay Community located at 415 W. 11th Street, opened on Nov. 20. This temporary community, which provides stable shelter and supportive services for up to 40 people in 20 modular shelters, is now at capacity. The new community’s residents consist primarily of individuals who were previously living unsheltered in the downtown area. The site is fenced and plumbed to provide showers, restrooms and laundry facilities and is staffed and managed 24/7 by the non-profit operator Outsider’s Inn.

Coming Soon: Safe Stay 4

Join us: Community open house scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Dec. 15! Come explore the site and meet the non-profit operator before we welcome new residents on Dec. 18.

On June 26, 2023, City Council approved the signing of a lease agreement with WSDOT, to use a portion of their approximately 18,750 sq. ft. property at 4611 Main St. to house the City’s fourth Safe Stay Community.

Like the existing Safe Stay Communities, the fourth site will provide 20 modular shelters housing up to 40 people. The site will be fenced and staffed 24/7 by the onsite nonprofit operator Do Good Multnomah. It will include trash receptacles and sanitation services, portable toilets and mobile shower/restroom units along with a contract to service the facilities. Learn more on Be Heard Vancouver.

Talkin’ Trash

Talkin’ Trash

Since 2017, the City has partnered with Share, a local non-profit, through a community cleanup grant that employs people experiencing homelessness to help address litter in the community. In addition to helping their community, the Talkin’ Trash crew, staffed by individuals who use Share’s shelter services, receive work experience and training to help in the transition from homelessness.

In 2019, Share’s Talkin’ Trash Program received the Nonprofit Network of Southwest Washington’s Nonprofit Award for Excellence in Innovation for its creative approach to helping those affected by homelessness while providing critical litter removal services to the City.

Learn more about Share’s Talkin’ Trash program.

Mail Services

Mail Services

Mail services are provided by Outsiders Inn at the following locations and times.

Text OIMAIL to 360-291-5980 and receive a sign up link.

To use for all regular mail:

Full Name
P.O. BOX 61429
Vancouver, WA 98666-0700

To use for FedEx or UPS:

Full name
1211 Daniels Street Box 61429
Vancouver, WA 98666-0700

Pick up times and locations

Living Hope Church/Live Love Ministries
2711 NE Andresen Blvd.
Vancouver WA 98661
1:30 to 4:00 p.m. Sundays

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
1309 Franklin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA 98660
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays

For more information, please contact Outsiders Inn.


Safe Parking Zone

The Safe Parking Zone is an organized site where people who live in their motor vehicles can park during Washington’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. It is located at the Evergreen Transit Center (1504 N.E. 138th Avenue), in partnership with C-TRAN.

Non-Congregate Shelter

The Clark County Community Services Department has partnered with the Vancouver Housing Authority (VHA) and the City to open a non-congregate shelter for people who are unhoused at Bertha Baugh Place, 9201 NE Vancouver Mall Drive.

All three entities have contributed funds to buy the hotel, and Clark County Community Services will oversee a contract with non-profit service provider Catholic Community Services of Wester Washington for the day-to-day operations.

Sanitation and Hygiene Stations

Share House
W 12th and King Street
Single Restroom/Hand Sanitizer Combo and ADA Restroom/Handwashing Stations

Housing Solutions Center Hotline

Are you currently in need of shelter or housing? If you are struggling to remain in your home, sleeping in your car or outside, call the Council for the Homeless Housing Hotline at 360-695-9677 to learn about available shelter and housing assistance in Clark County.

Learn more about the Housing Solutions Center Hotline

Clark County Food Services

From Camas to Battle Ground, Downtown Vancouver to Woodland, the Clark County Food Bank supports 43 partners at 130 distribution sites located throughout Clark County.

Learn more about Clark County Food Services

Winter Hospitality Overflow (WHO)

Winter Hospitality Overflow shelters provide additional overnight beds from November 1 to March 30. Call the Housing Hotline at 360-695-9677 Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for more information.

  • St. Andrew has a bed capacity of 50 for single women, couples and families.
  • St. Paul has a bed capacity of 24 for single men.

Learn more about the Winter Hospitality Overflow

Shelter Inventory

View the list of local shelter options

Landlord Mitigation Fund

The Landlord Mitigation Fund is a Washington Department of Commerce program that provides landlords with an incentive and added security to work with tenants receiving rental assistance. The program offers up to $1,000 to the landlord in reimbursement for some potentially required move-in upgrades, up to fourteen days’ rent loss and up to $5,000 in qualifying damages caused by a tenant during tenancy.

Learn more about the Landlord Mitigation Fund

Frequently Asked Questions

How many people are experiencing homelessness in our city?

Washington State requires each county to conduct a census of individuals experiencing homelessness. This large one-day event in January each year is called the Point in Time (PIT) Count. The PIT Count is administered by Council for the Homeless and provides a countywide count of people experiencing homelessness. The count includes individuals living unsheltered, those living in shelter, and transitional housing programs.

In January of 2020 the PIT Count reported 916 individuals experiencing homelessness countywide, including 516 unsheltered, meaning they slept in a place not meant for human habitation the night before. This was a 6% increase in unsheltered homelessness from 2019-2020, and PIT Count data shows that unsheltered homelessness has steadily increased in Clark County since 2015.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 PIT Count was altered to include only those individuals and households who were sheltered. This data was collected from our local HMIS (Homeless Management Information System) and includes data for the entirety of 2020. It shows that a total of 3,972 households experienced homelessness in Clark County in 2020.

It is difficult to get an exact number during the PIT Count because not everyone experiencing homelessness is located or chooses to participate on the day of the count. While many individuals are counted in shelter and at the Project Homeless Connect event that same day, the unsheltered PIT Count is done primarily by community outreach workers and volunteers who spend part of a day filling out surveys with individuals and households across the county. Based on informal observations in the field by the City’s Homeless Assistance and Resources Team (HART) and other community outreach workers, we believe the number of people currently experiencing unsheltered homelessness within the City of Vancouver is closer to 500-600 individuals.

What should I do if I am experiencing homelessness right now?

Contact the Council for the Homeless Housing Hotline at 360-695-9677 for shelter availability and housing assistance in Clark County. Housing Hotline Hours of Operation are:

  • Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Additional resources can be found by calling 211, visiting 211info.org, or in the Clark County Resource Guide.

What is the relationship between Vancouver’s Plan for Unsheltered Homelessness and Clark County’s Homeless Action Plan?

Clark County oversees the implementation of the local Homeless Action Plan, which guides policy, funding and the practices of local service providers who make up our region’s homeless crisis response system. Vancouver’s plan supports the implementation of the County’s Homeless Action Plan. While both are aimed at helping individuals experiencing homelessness, Vancouver’s plan also addresses the impacts of the homelessness crisis on the broader Vancouver community.

Strategies in Vancouver’s plan aim to address:

  • Community safety
  • Health and sanitation for the entire Vancouver community, including unhoused residents
  • Access to physical, mental and behavioral health services for individuals living without shelter
  • Lack of safe places for people to camp as they work on housing, employment and other services

Why are we seeing so many people living outside in tents?

In addition to the shortage in deeply affordable housing, the City’s Unlawful Camping ordinance, amended in 2015, permits camping on most publicly owned land (excluding City parks and public libraries) from 9:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., provided sidewalks and roadways are not obstructed, when shelter capacity is full. This is due to a Supreme Court ruling that declared punishing an individual experiencing homelessness for sleeping on publicly owned land, in the absence of adequate alternatives, a violation of their 8th amendment rights.

What are the City’s policies and procedures for clearing encampments?

Camp removal and displacement of people is assessed on a case-by-case basis depending on impacts to the environment, public safety and user conflicts.

Considerations include public safety, including for the people who inhabit the camps, potential for significant environmental impacts, potential user conflicts, and available resources. Clean up notices are posted at least 24 hours in advance, and several entities are often involved, such as HART, community outreach teams, Public Works, Talkin’ Trash, and sometimes code enforcement, police, fire and crisis response, if needed.

When the City of Vancouver removes an encampment on public property, we provide a minimum 72-hour notice to everyone that would be affected by the move. We look for the safest options for cleaning the camp, often hiring a contracted company that uses best practices, safe collection and trauma-informed care. Things like personal items, documents, money and jewelry are not thrown away but collected and inventoried. Service providers and other community resources are notified in advance to be on hand for support and outreach ahead of time.

Camps on private property are dealt with through our code enforcement process, but private property owners are ultimately responsible for their property.

Over the long term, our goal is that people should not have to live outside because there should be safer options and because encampments are not a long-term solution for Vancouver due to their overall impact on the community.

When will we get to a point where there are no longer encampments in the city?

While we strive for a community where no one has to live outside, we are unlikely to be able to end all homelessness. There are many factors that lead someone into homelessness. As long as there is a shortage in shelter and affordable housing, inequality in employment, inequality in housing, inequality in education, generational poverty, untreated mental health, and untreated substance use we will always have people who are marginalized and living outdoors.