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5 Ways to Improve Life in Homeless Encampments

As cities struggle to deal with the persistent challenges of homelessness, one writer suggest there's a better way to address the problem than by simply clearing out homeless encampments and tent cities.
February 11, 2016, 12pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Lisa Daugaard notes that shutting down homeless encampments might feel like progress, but "it is not an effective choice if the goal is actually reducing the number of people living outdoors." In fact, "[i]n the absence of real alternative accommodations for people currently camping outside, these closures are counter-productive flailing that do far more harm than good."

The ongoing controversy inspiring the article by Daugaard concerns "The Jungle" (also known as the Beacon Hill greenbelt) in Seattle.  According to Dauggard, the real question that should be asked when deciding the best policies to address homeless encampment follows: "How can we best and most quickly get to a point where people don’t have to resort to living outdoors?"

Dauggard provides five answers to that question, each with more detail included in the article:

  1. Rethink the camp closure approach.
  2. Improve city services in encampments.
  3. Build relationships.
  4. Employ harm-reduction techniques that work.
  5. Develop more inclusive housing options.
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Published on Thursday, February 11, 2016 in Crosscut
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