Latest News from Outsiders Inn

A response to a blog

On Feb 26, The Columbian posted the blog, ‘The urinating on chairs was bad enough’.  It focused on the Clark County council's revisiting of a plan to make the Public Service Center at 1300 Franklin Street a limited-use facility.  They understand the reason they are doing this is to restrict the homeless in the area from using the needed water and bathroom facilities because they waited until there was an official day center in the city to revisit this plan.  But the problem with that is, the day center is a LONG WALK (20 minutes or more) if you have to use the bathroom while you are in the area of the service center and even feels longer when you "have to go", and when you are walking in the rain with a backpack heavy with your worldly possessions.

This article said the facility has had issues with "some individuals", but yet they are looking to restrict everyone instead of just addressing the problem individuals. They say it is to "give teeth to dealing with troublemakers", however that can most likely be read as "people they deem as potential troublemakers". Now we ask, "how will that clarification be made between a real troublemaker and someone just needing to use the facilities appropriately?" Sadly, more than likely it will be made by "how you are dressed" and "if they look homeless". The facility personnel complains and worries about urine smell on the furniture. Every public place has this problem over time. They are obviously using that statement as an "ick factor" to bring about sympathy from people they are hoping to slide this rule change by. We ask, are they assuming that the smell on furniture comes only from a homeless person, or will they apply that assumption of smell to every 40+ year old woman or man with a bladder control problem? Will they ask / inspect older people if they are wearing their Depends properly? Will they ask disabled persons if they have spina bifida or other physical ailments to not use the chairs? Will they ask parents with children in diapers to not sit on furniture and only stand in the wait area, or not enter all together since their diapers might leak on a chair? -- If they are complaining about furniture being used and smelling, then all those kinds of people an situations need to also be taken into consideration, or this is a unfair burden being put on our county's Unhoused Residents.

In my opinion, I doubt this rule change is anything but one more way to separate the Unhoused from the Housed and to keep the Unhoused Residents of our community from using public facilities such as clean water fountains and bathrooms.   "We maintain a public water fountain outside the building", they might say about the water... but do you see the picture we have included here?  THIS is the condition of the water fountain outside of the building.  It is unacceptable. Clean water and bathrooms are HUMAN RIGHTS.  Clark County and the Public Service building staff needs to be sure they are attending to the needs of EVERYONE, the Unhoused as well as the Housed residents, using this PUBLIC FACILITY.




Clark County seeks applicants for Community Action Advisory Board

Vancouver, WA – The Acting County Manager is seeking applicants for an opening on the Community Action Advisory Board (CAAB). The opening is for district one, roughly north of 78th Street between Interstate 5 and Lakeshore Avenue and north of 99th Street east of I-5.

The term is three years, starting Jan. 1. Applicants may not be county staff or board members of agencies receiving funds administered by the CAAB.

The nine member CAAB board makes recommendations regarding local government funding for basic and essential housing, health, and safety needs. The board also works to fund programs that remove obstacles to self-sufficiency for low-income communities, families and individuals.

Clark County encourages people with diverse cultural backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to apply.

Applicants must submit an application and resume to Rebecca Royce, Clark County Community Services, P.O. Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The application can be found on the Clark County Community Action Advisory Board webpage or requested from Rebecca Royce. Deadline is Friday, Nov. 20.

Congregational Car Camping Workshop in Clark County this Saturday

As a Clark County citizen, you no doubt are aware of the growing problem of homelessness in our County.  Many groups of people and organizations have stepped up to look for ways to address this in a variety of ways.  A number of people representing a wide spectrum of faith communities are committed to doing something concrete: providing a safe and legal place for homeless people with cars to park. People sleeping in their cars often feel unsafe, have no bathroom facilities, and have difficulties finding a legal place to safely park overnight.  In many communities across the nation, churches have joined together to provide safe overnight parking. 

This Saturday, October 10, Joe Ingram, Chairperson of the Interfaith Task Force to End Homelessness, King County, who has helped groups of faith communities in King and Kitsap counties provide car camping spaces, will  speak with faith communities in Clark County.  Congregation-based car camping as an option is hopefully a short-term solution which will enable the community to move toward more desirable long-term solutions to provide more adequate housing for this vulnerable segment of the population.

You are cordially invited to come to this workshop and learn more about this opportunity to work with other faith communities to improve the lives of homeless people in our community.

Saturday, October 10, 9AM1PM
Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church
12513 SE Mill Plain Blvd
Vancouver, WA 98683

Please pass the word to others from faith-based groups!  We can do something to make an important and immediate difference in the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens.