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TIDES: Ithaca’s potential new plan to address homeless encampment

The Ithaca Designated Encampment Site (TIDES): That’s the name for a proposed plan from the city to formalize relations with “the Jungle,” an encampment of homeless people in Ithaca’s Southwest Park.

The unofficial plan was presented at the City of Ithaca’s Planning and Economic Development meeting on Wednesday, April 20, according to Ithaca Voice.

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What’s proposed in the unofficial plan?

The unofficial proposal would form a partnership between the city and community organizations to build kitchen, bathroom, and shower facilities in the Jungle. Additionally, 25 cabins or structures to serve up to 50 people would be constructed.

TIDES residents must be at least 18-years-old, follow harm reduction protocols, and exhibit good neighborly behavior.

There would also be a 24/7 on-site management team, including security personnel tasked with ensuring safe EMS access to the site. Notably, no sobriety stipulation is included in TIDES, which sets Ithaca apart from many similar programs in other cities.

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How was TIDES developed?

This unofficial proposed plan is a departure from the city’s former practice of essentially ignoring the growing encampment in Southwest Park. The encampment is technically illegal, but the city largely did not monitor the site until now.

TIDES is the result of efforts dating back to fall 2021, when the committee first began discussing potential ways to address the encampment situation.

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Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

What’s next?

Acting Mayor Laura Lewis has expressed her support for the plan. TIDES is not meant to be a permanent solution to housing needs, but rather an attempt to meet the encampment’s population where they are while deciding long-term strategies.

You can watch the Planning and Economic Development Committee’s full meeting here. Information on the unofficial TIDES plan can be found here.