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Vancouver opens first Safe Stay Community for homeless

"This is springboard to everything to me. I got a safe place where I can catch my breath," said one man who moved in to a tiny home two days before Christmas.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A homeless village in Vancouver opened Dec. 23, just before Christmas and the worst of the winter storm conditions, providing a lifeline to dozens of people who are homeless and seeking a life off the streets just in time for the holidays.

"You know, this place has saved my life," said Michael Eddy, who moved in two days before Christmas. He now has a bed, a heater, a roof over his head and a chance for a new life.

The "Safe Stay Community" — 20 tiny homes near Northeast 112th Avenue and SR 500 — will provide a safe place to sleep for up to 40 people who are homeless. People are able to move in with partners and bring personal belongings and pets. They will also have access to supportive services.

The city of Vancouver has been working on the site since May 2021. The city plans to open a second 20-unit location in a few months, and a third sometime after that.

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"They're able to say, now I'm going to be able to go get my drivers license, go get a job, find a place," said Jamie Spinelli, the homeless response coordinator for the city of Vancouver. "There's all these things that I'm now going to be able to do that I was not going to be able to do being out here in the rain and the snow."

Eddy said he needed a place to be. 

"This is springboard to everything to me. I got a safe place where I can catch my breath."

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