City of Edmonds partners with nonprofit to clean up encampments

The City of Edmonds said Wednesday is it partnering with The Hand Up Project, a local nonprofit that cleans up unauthorized encampments in compliance with environmental laws. The organization also connects individuals to wrap-around services, leading them towards more permanent housing, the city said.

Based in Lynnwood, The Hand Up Project cleans up certain toxic waste, removes garbage and provides assistance to individuals in need.

A city-issued press release said the initiative is part of Mayor Mike Nelson’s vision to address homelessness, which includes a partnership with Compass Health to provide embedded social service and health care coordination with the Edmonds Police Department.

“Each of the initiatives we have undertaken play a part in ensuring our vulnerable residents are treated with compassion and dignity while ensuring our community remains a safe and welcoming place to live,” Nelson said.

In addition to providing cleanup services, The Hand Up Project has over a decade of experience assisting individuals that are sometimes inhabiting these areas. The Hand Up Project complies with all federal, state and local codes to provide one-on-one certified recovery coaching and counseling to the individuals who sometimes call these spaces “home.”

“Having the services of The Hand Up Project means the city has a mechanism in place to address situations requiring encampment cleanup when they arise,” said Deputy Parks and Human Services Director Shannon Burley. “Knowing that all codes are being followed and additional services offered when needed, expands how the city is helping vulnerable residents while protecting public property and the environment.”

The current agreement won’t exceed $25,000 annually. Each cleanup has a minimum call fee of $500 and each service call will have a quote provided that outlines costs before work commences, the city said.

  1. It sounds like a good plan with the appropriate services and departments involved. Will it fall under the oversight of Director Burley? I’m assuming there will be updates on how the program is working.

  2. Since when is someone camping out illegally in public or private spaces a “vulnerable resident?” They might be a vulnerable “person” or a vulnerable “individual” but they aren’t vulnerable city “residents” unless they are camped out on their own property within the city which isn’t very likely. Words matter and have proper meanings. Someone with a position as powerful and important as a town mayor, with the legal obligation to enforce laws and codes impartially, should be a little smarter about using semantics correctly. His word usage on this strikes me as propaganda and electioneering more than real public service information for the good of all. These folks need help but they generally aren’t city “residents.”

    1. Clinton I agree words matter and I think both words could be true but not necessarily the general rule. It is about portraying people in a certain way to gain empathy with the taxpayers to support for government expenditures. In general homeless people have earned their situation that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve help but those words would give cause for greater expenditures that in my opinion are more enabling than helpful.

  3. I do follow a more conservative path and I’m more spiritual than religious ..The program here sounds better than most I hear
    I’m a manager of a 55 and older mobile park ..We are not wealthy for the most part and some of these residents here ..(They own their homes and rent the land .) Could easily end up on the street My twin brother and I also have a charity and a house repair business
    We service elderly. Disabled . Single parents and Immigrants We have a compassion but people have to want to accept to take on responsibility and do what they can in their communities and for themselves and others

  4. Our real problem politically is that no one can seem to agree on what the role of governments at all levels should be or not be. On the extreme Right, good government seems to be defined as a strong military, little or no rules on financial matters and mostly older white men telling women what they can and can’t do regarding their bodies and sexuality. Kind of like the law of the jungle. On the extreme Left, good government seems to be defined as total government control of anything everyone needs to survive and guaranteed happiness with a guarantee that anyone should be able to live anywhere they want regardless of their means or ability to do so. Kind of like Big Brother knows best. It seems to me that we have become somewhat afraid of the concepts of individual freedom and making good choices , rather than embracing them. Democracy and self rule aren’t given; they have to be fought for at all times.

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