The City property on Alabama Street where homeless individuals reside has been declared a state of public health emergency by the Longview City Council. By declaring a state of emergency on homelessness, the City will have more administrative authority and flexibility in contracting for services and allocating resources in response to the homelessness crisis. Addressing this crisis requires local government and community organizations to come together and find solutions.
The City of Longview is establishing a process for monitoring and cleaning up city-owned property on Alabama Street currently occupied by homeless individuals. This work is coordinated by the Longview Police Department, in collaboration with other City departments and homeless service providers.
Cleanup efforts will begin immediately. Camp occupants will be offered shelter and other services and notified in advance of clean up actions. The camp will be tagged for cleanup, which is formal notice to vacate and remove personal property within a specific amount of time. The camp will be scheduled for cleanup to remove any property or debris left behind.
Police officers respond with the cleanup crew to help protect the safety of all involved, to ensure that any occupants of the encampment have vacated, and to issue trespass warnings if they do not leave. The City of Longview does not consider being homeless a crime. Cleanup efforts are intended to help maintain public health and safety for all, including those without stable housing.
Throughout the cleanup effort, the City will be working together with other community organizations to help prevent people from dispersing throughout the community and to mitigate the potential for infectious disease spread.
The City will allow people who are living unsheltered or in the encampment to move to an adjacent city-owned property. These individuals will be asked to set up their tents with at least 12 feet x 12 feet of space per individual.
The City offers a number of direct services for those living at the encampment, including garbage dumpsters, portable toilets and handwashing stations. Simply allocating additional City resources will not produce the long-term solutions we need. As we work to assess and measure our local crisis, and outline next steps, we will continue to strengthen our ability to seamlessly work with partners.