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An authorized encampment is a community of unhoused people lawfully living outdoors on another entity’s property. Several cities have implemented authorized encampments as interim options for people experiencing homelessness, but implementation has been haphazard due to a dearth of practical guidance. This brief summarizes the challenges and opportunities posed by encampments hosted by universities, operated by a third party, self-governed, and with compelled participation.

Authorized encampments are proven to have many benefits, including improved service delivery and security, community, and the stability necessary for residents to access permanent housing. This guide summarizes the challenges and opportunities posed by various encampment models along the West Coast.