Homeless Encampments

Homeless encampments are highly visible and troubling reminders of the housing crisis in our country. Encampments occur because there is a pervasive lack of affordable, permanent housing in our communities. The National Health Care for the Homeless Council fundamentally disagrees with policies that create homelessness and advocates for public policies that both reduce the health and safety risks for those living in encampments and prevent and end homelessness through long term solutions.

Read our statement, released April 2018, on the Roles of the HCH Community

“I wish people could change their perspectives on how they look at campsites—these are just regular human beings coming together.”

– Art Rios Sr., Regional Representative with the the National Consumer Advisory Board, former leader and organizer at two encampments in Portland, OR-  Right to Dream Too and Dignity Village. Read the full interview with Art on his thoughts on encampments and constructive solutions for moving forward.

More on Encampments from our National Partners

Martin V Boise: What Does it Mean for Communities?  (September 2018)
This info-graphic from the Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty provides guidance for localities regarding the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Idaho that affirmed the state may not “criminalize conduct that is unavoidable consequence of being homeless- namely sitting, lying, or sleeping in the street”

Caution is Needed When Considering “Sanctioned Encampments” or “Safe Zones” (May 2018)
This report from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness highlights cautions that should be considered before sanctioning or regulating encampments.

It Takes a Village: Practical Guide for Authorized Encampments (May 2018)
This guide, written by Evanie Parr, Seattle University Homeless Rights Advocacy Project, summarizes the challenges and opportunities posed by various encampments along the West Coast.

Tent City USA: The Growth of America’s Homeless Encampments and How Communities are Responding (December 2017)
The report from the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty reviews the rapid growth of homeless people living in tents across the United States over the past decade, as measured by documentation in media reports.

Case Studies: Ending Homelessness for People Living in Encampments (August 2017)
This case study from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness checks in on several communities to learn about their ongoing efforts to refine and strengthen strategies for addressing the needs of people living in encampments.

Ending Homelessness For People Living in in Encampments: Advancing the Dialogue (August 2015)
This report from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness is designed to assist communities in developing an action plan that will link people experiencing homelessness and living in an encampment, with permanent housing opportunities.

State and Local Resources

Please submit resources to rreed@nhchc.org 

Forced encampment closures: They don’t work and they do harm (January 2018)
Baltimore’s Health Care for the Homeless’ position statement on forced enclosure of encampments, released amidst a round of forced encampment enclosures in Baltimore city.

Sanctioned Homeless Encampments Initial Planning and Management Checklists (March 2018)
Public Health Department for Seattle & King County checklists to be used in the initial planning and ongoing management of sanctioned homeless encampment sites.