County, city and Vancouver Housing Authority to open non-congregate shelter in Vancouver

The goal is for a single operator to be selected and ready to provide services at a site beginning in late February or early March

VANCOUVER – Clark County Community Services is partnering with the Vancouver Housing Authority (VHA) and the city of Vancouver to open a shelter for people who are unhoused. All three entities will contribute funds to the acquisition, and Clark County Community Services will oversee a contract with a yet-to-be determined non-profit service provider for the day-to-day operations.

The VHA is working on acquiring a site.

Clark County Community Services is partnering with the Vancouver Housing Authority and the city of Vancouver to open a shelter for people who are unhoused. File photo
Clark County Community Services is partnering with the Vancouver Housing Authority and the city of Vancouver to open a shelter for people who are unhoused. File photo

Clark County Community Services has issued a Request for Applications (RFA) to solicit possible operators of the new shelter. The RFA is open for applications until Jan. 1. A review committee composed of staff from the county, city and VHA will provide a recommendation for an operator in late January. The goal is for a single operator to be selected and ready to provide services at a site beginning in late February or early March.

The shelter will operate 24-hours a day, seven-days a week, and it will be non-congregate meaning households utilizing the shelter will have their own room and restroom facilities, a critical feature during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Referrals to the shelter will be through the Coordinated Entry System utilized by the county as is required by the state. In addition to basic shelter services, it is expected that the shelter operator will also connect and engage residents with services and community supports that address their physical and mental wellness and result in positive and stable housing outcomes.

The shelter will operate 24-hours a day, seven-days a week, and it will be non-congregate meaning households utilizing the shelter will have their own room and restroom facilities, a critical feature during the current COVID-19 pandemic. File photo
The shelter will operate 24-hours a day, seven-days a week, and it will be non-congregate meaning households utilizing the shelter will have their own room and restroom facilities, a critical feature during the current COVID-19 pandemic. File photo

“Emergency shelter plays an important role in the homeless crisis response system by breaking the cycle of homelessness,” said Vanessa Gaston, Clark County Community Services Director. “It can be a transformational component to a system that tries to meet people’s basic needs while quickly moving them towards long-term stability.”

Funding for shelter operations will be from a variety of state, federal and local sources which include state funds for new shelter beds, federal Emergency Solutions Grant shelter funds, and possibly local Mental Health funds.

Once funds to operate the shelter are expended, which is anticipated after 2-3 years, VHA plans to convert the facility to affordable housing for the community.  

Information provided by Clark Co. WA Communications.

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