Latest News from Outsiders Inn

Vancouver church backs out of homeless village

Church received threat of lawsuit; backers vow to find new location

AdamKravitz and BillRitchie AmandaCowen TheColumbian

By Amy Fischer, Columbian City Government Reporter

Published:

A Vancouver church that had agreed to host a village of 40 tiny houses for the homeless has pulled out of the project, leaving organizers searching for a new location.

Safe Harbor Church of the Nazarene received a threat of a lawsuit, the church said on its Facebook page, adding, “We do not wish to fight with our neighbors, so we made the painful decision to withdraw from the project.”

The church’s pastor, David Edwards, previously said the Council for the Homeless and its partners could build a temporary, emergency village for 50 homeless people this winter in an empty field behind the church at 8100 E. Mill Plain Blvd., which is next to the Garrison Square shopping center. Bordered by 82nd Avenue, which dead-ends at an apartment complex, the Safe Harbor church site was chosen because it’s close to a hospital, a bus line and shopping.

Andy Silver, executive director of the Council for the Homeless, said he received the news Wednesday morning.

All the partners involved are still “100 percent committed to making this happen,” Silver said.

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County found liable for violating homeless campers’ civil rights

 http://clarkcountytoday.com/2016/09/26/county-found-liable-for-violating-homeless-campers-civil-rights/

Date:
in: Featured, News

 

CLARK COUNTY — Clark County leaders are expected to approve a $250,000 settlement agreement this week as restitution for violating homeless campers’ civil rights.

CCToday 28 Sep 16 17

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Tacoma found Clark County liable for violating the constitutional rights of unhoused citizens when county work crews cleared homeless camps, seizing and disposing of the homeless campers’ personal property.

According to the suit, brought on behalf of eight different homeless plaintiffs, county work crews often seized personal belongings — including clothing, tents, sleeping bags, photographs, driver’s licenses, shoes, computers, food, medication, prescription glasses and toiletries — with little to no notice, and then disposed of the items immediately, giving homeless campers no chance to retrieve their belongings.

“It was a clear violation of the law,” says Vancouver attorney Peter Fels of the county’s seizure practices. Fels, along with his co-counsel, Moloy Good, a member of the Portland Human Rights Commission, represented the eight plaintiffs in their case against the county.

On Sept. 16, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan agreed that the county had violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, ruling that the county’s “immediate destruction of the property (rather than holding it for possible return) made the seizure unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” Bryan also dismissed the county’s assertion that the work crews were justified in removing and destroying the personal property because campers had violated the county’s illegal camping ordinances.

Quoting a similar case out of Los Angeles that went to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the highest court in the nation before the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Bryan ruled that that violation of an ordinance (in this case the illegal camping ordinance) does not nullify a person’s Fourth Amendment rights, which protect citizens from illegal search and seizures of private property.

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