First report issued for emergency declaration on homelessness

December 5, 2023

Staff provided the first of what will be monthly reports on the City’s emergency declaration on homelessness during the Dec. 4 Vancouver City Council Meeting.

During the first 30 days of the declared emergency, the City focused immediately on activities with partners that set a strong foundation for future actions. Key accomplishments include:

  • Homeless Assistance and Resources Team (HART) briefed all Vancouver Police patrol officers on updates to policy and procedures that focus on engagement first and enforcement, if necessary, last, aligning patrol’s response with HART’s processes and providing patrol greater clarity and more tools for responding to calls for service involving unsheltered homelessness.
  • Briefing Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) dispatch about the new policy and procedures related to or involving unsheltered homelessness and how calls for service should be routed.
  • HART conducted clean-ups in the area around Share House, in the lot to the south of City Hall, on the north and south sides of the Mill Plain bridge west of Lincoln and Burnt Bridge Creek.
  • Columbia River Mental Health is operating its behavioral health response team in the Fourth Plain Corridor.
  • Clark County District Court approved an expansion of the Community Court program from half day to full day, once a week. Staff is working to identify a new court location that can accommodate the extended court hours.

The Situation Report can be read on the City’s website at Emergency Declaration.


On Nov. 6, the Vancouver City Council voted to ratify an emergency declaration related to homelessness. In accordance with Vancouver Municipal Code 2.12, the City Manager made the emergency declaration on Friday, Nov. 3. Over the years, the City has made significant progress in addressing homelessness and related issues. Some actions taken to date include:

  • Creating the Homeless Assistance and Resources Team
  • Developing three Safe Stay Communities with one more opening before the end of December
  • Developing a Safe Park Zone for community members living in vehicles
  • Managing the clean-up of more than 115 encampments posing public health risks
  • Modifying the City Code to protect environmentally sensitive areas and fire-impact areas
  • Empaneling an Affordable Housing Task Force, proposing Propositions 1 and 3 to the voters of Vancouver (which established and expanded the Affordable Housing Fund)

Contact: Laura Shepard, Communications Director,