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.
NHCHC Encampment Resources
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study that shows encampment sweeps, bans, move-along orders and cleanups that forcibly relocate individuals away from essential services will lead to substantial increases in overdose deaths, hospitalizations, and life-threatening infections as well as hinder access to medications for opioid use disorder (along with other detrimental impacts).
Sweeps do not end homelessness. Grassroots leaders and direct service providers understand that encampment sweeps cause four general problems:
Each of these problems presents significant challenges to those directly impacted by forced displacement and the service providers who care for them.
More on Encampments from our National Partners
This statement from the National Coalition for Housing Justice, to which the NHCHC is a party, describes how the criminalization of unsheltered homelessness and encampments harms everyone and wastes money.
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”
This report from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness highlights cautions that should be considered before sanctioning or regulating encampments.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Public Health Department for Seattle & King County checklists to be used in the initial planning and ongoing management of sanctioned homeless encampment sites.