Temporary homeless encampment hearing on Aberdeen City Council agenda Wednesday

  • Mon Oct 7th, 2019 4:30pm
  • News

Wednesday’s Aberdeen City Council meeting will include a public hearing on a one-year temporary-use permit for a homeless camp facility at 421 S. Michigan St.

The public will have the opportunity to comment on the site, which would hold about 150 unsheltered people. Aberdeen Mayor Erik Larson will not be at the meeting due to travel required by his job.

The City Council authorized Larson to purchase the South Michigan Street property Aug. 28 for the purpose of opening a longer-term shelter to replace the current smaller temporary shelter next to City Hall. It also authorized the city to seek outside funding for a longer-term allocation of just over $500,000 for the establishment of the camp and its operations for a year.

A recommendation drafted for the City Council by Community Development Director Lisa Scott describes the reasoning for a longer-term shelter, and the one-year temporary-use permit for the Michigan Street site.

“Staff has been working with Grays Harbor County, the City of Hoquiam and numerous service providers in our region to develop a longer-range plan, best practices and solutions for our county’s unsheltered population,” read the recommendation. “The meaningful steps we are taking are encouraging; however implementing any coordinated actions are anticipated to take at least a year.”

The recommendation continued, “A one-year temporary-use permit will allow city staff the additional time, to not only continue our work with Grays Harbor County and our partner organizations, but to develop code language that will address this need. Aberdeen needs clear, concise and enforceable legislation that addresses this crisis, with community input.”

Another recommendation from Scott on Wednesday’s agenda is to further extend the temporary-use permit at the current City Hall camp — scheduled to end Oct. 15 — through Nov. 15.

“A longer-term location has not been finalized, therefore staff anticipates the need to extend the City Hall location for an additional 30 days, through November 15, 2019 to allow discussion for a longer-term solution,” read the recommendation. It also recommends an additional budget allocation of $5,000 to extend the camp, stating the city has spent “a total of $42,310 of the $85,000 budget” for the City Hall camp. “Due to invoicing and billing cycles staff estimates an additional $5,000, for a total of $90,000, is needed to keep the (City Hall camp) open through November 15, 2019.”

Included in the agenda packet for the Oct. 9 meeting is a financial breakdown of the camps and a “timeline addressing unsheltered residents” in the city, along with the complete Community Development recommendations to the council regarding the camps.

The agenda can be accessed online at at https://aberdeenwa.gov/aberdeen-city-council/.