The Clark County Council and the Vancouver City Council this week approved a memorandum of agreement between the two jurisdictions that establishes Clark County as the lead agency on regional homeless response and creates a joint executive group on homelessness to enable leaders from both organizations to collaborate on projects and initiatives that will address homelessness and its impacts within the county.
“Establishing this policy group is a much-needed step in the right direction on the issue of homelessness in our community,” said Interim County Manager Kathleen Otto. “I’m confident that working together with our partners at the city is the best approach to develop strategies to fight the devasting problem of homelessness in Clark County.”
“Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis that has been increasing across the country and in our region,” said City Manager Eric Holmes, “We are extremely pleased to be a significant supporting partner in addressing and reducing homelessness in our region and look forward to collaborating with Clark County and many other partners on solutions to this critical issue.”
Representatives from Clark County and the City of Vancouver met four times from July through September 2020 to discuss the formation of this joint executive group, which is comprised of two elected officials each from the county and city along with the county manager and city manager or their designee. With the county’s lead, the group will function as a policy forum to consider homelessness comprehensively and holistically with the goal of identifying gaps and opportunities for further coordination and investment.
The joint executive group is expected to hold its first meeting in early November 2020. A framework will be established for the group to grow over time to include other public agencies, local governments, non-profits, and individuals with lived experience with homelessness. The group also expects to work with all organizations providing homeless support services within the two jurisdictions. A focus will be on enabling regional discussions on homelessness that can go beyond the scope of the Continuum of Care to look at addiction, mental illness, and other root causes of housing instability.
Lindsey Shafar, Senior Policy Analyst, Clark County Council Office
Corinne Weiss, Interim Communications Director, City of Vancouver City Manager’s Office