Register Now for NAFSMA April 29th Mentoring Session on Flood Risk Management and Homeless Encampments
Virtual Mentoring Session for
Flood Risk Management and Public Works Agencies to Share Best Practices and Discuss
Solutions to Risks Posed by Encampments of Persons Experiencing Homelessness
Near Flood Risk Reduction Systems
Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 11 AM -2 PM Eastern (8 AM – 11 AM Pacific)
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, homelessness was increasing across the country. As of January 2019, 568,000 people were reportedly experiencing homelessness, an increase of nearly 15,000 from 2018 (US Department of Housing and Urban Development). Some individuals experiencing homelessness are reluctant to stay in shelters due to concerns about safety, sanitary conditions, potential for mistreatment by shelter staff, or fears about their children’s safety and well-being. Rather than stay in a shelter, a good number of homeless individuals create temporary housing in flood risk reduction systems and floodplains since they are in urban areas close to services but provide open space for camps.
Public agencies that manage these flood risk reduction systems and floodplains have not traditionally been trained or equipped to address the complex issues of homelessness. Flood control and public works agencies have had to direct limited resources to address impacts of individuals camping near flood risk management systems and floodplains. Such impacts include debris, damage to the flood risk management system and floodplains, theft, and providing additional support and security. This redirection of resources can impact the ability of maintenance staff to focus on their mission of protecting life and property from flooding.
To address this complex situation, the National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA) is convening a virtual mentoring workshop to bring flood risk management and public works agencies together from the across the country to share best practices and brainstorm about solutions that could work for their systems.
Martin v. City of Boise Presentation - In September 2018, a panel of the Ninth Circuit decided Martin v. City of Boise. The court ruled that enforcement of ordinances that prohibit sleeping or camping on public property against homeless individuals is unconstitutional when those individuals do not have a meaningful alternative, such as shelter space or a legal place to camp. This decision has had far reaching impacts to flood risk management and public works agencies on how they can maintain their systems and serve and protect their communities. We will review the key components of the decision and discuss how they have impacted public works agencies decisions and policies.
Local Solutions Panels – Agencies have taken many different approaches to mitigating impacts from encampments. This panel will be comprised of staff from agencies across the country to discuss the strategies they have employed such as structural fixes, legislative/regulatory approaches, regional coordination, and outreach/support.
Federal Panel- Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the US Interagency Council on Homelessness are participating in the event to discuss the federal government’s awareness and potential role in supporting local agencies efforts to help address these issues through existing programs or technical assistance.
Please note that there is no charge to participate in this virtual webinar.
Register in advance for this webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.