Roberts Lake Park and Ride

In October 2022, the City adopted a plan for the homeless encampment at the Roberts Lake Park & Ride. The encampment became a safe sleeping program (SSP) with rules for behavior. The City teamed up with HomeFirst and Defense Block Security to provide supportive services and security at the site. Our goals were to:
  • Stop the growth of the encampment. We stopped allowing new people to move into the encampment on October 11. On that day there were 130 people living in the encampment. As of February 2023, there are approximately 40 people living there. 
  • Increase safety. Defense Block Security provides 24/7 security at the site. Their staff frequently patrol the encampment to discourage unauthorized entry and ensure general order. Public Safety and the SAFE team make regular visits to the site with the shared goal of reducing impacts to the surrounding area of the City. There was a 55% decline in the number of calls for Public Safety in the Roberts Lake area from September to December 2022. We continue to patrol the area and recognize that challenges remain.
  • Manage the encampment to closure. The City partners with HomeFirst to connect people at the site with more permanent housing options, with the goal of reducing the program roster to 0. HomeFirst staff work daily to connect people living at the site with permanent and temporary housing options, including interim housing at Labath Landing. The Safe Sleeping Program will likely continue for some time as this work continues. We continue to seek opportunities to increase the housing options available. The lack of permanent housing is one of the biggest challenges we face in addressing homelessness. High rents contribute to this challenge. Those placed in permanent housing are required to pay 1/3 of their income toward rent. For those with higher needs, we provide services such as mental health support to ensure that they remain housed – this is an essential part of the “Housing First” approach that is proven to reduce homelessness.

From October 2022 through February 2023:

  • 55 people have exited Roberts Lake SSP to Labath Landing (50 when Labath Landing first opened and 5 since).
  • 3 people have exited Roberts Lake SSP to permanent housing.
  • 3 people exited into long-term substance abuse treatment programs or medical care facility.
  • 2 people were expelled for serious rule violations.
  • 15 people chose to self-exit.
Our goal is to close the program in the future. In the meantime, the City continues to take humane steps to find long-term solutions to homelessness.

For more information, click HERE to view the update staff shared with City Council on the Safe Sleeping Program on February 14, 2023, at 1:21:30. Click HERE to read the accompanying staff report.