Homelessness is a serious problem facing many communities throughout the United States of America. It is especially prevalent and noticeable in large cities like Portland. However, there are some potential solutions that various communities are beginning to embrace. Portland is one of those communities.
Tiny houses are a growing trend as people look to simplify their lives and avoid spending more than they have on a home. Now, they are being used as a way to provide basic housing for the people who are most in need. On Saturday, June 10th, 14 women will be given a new chance to better their lives in Portland. They will live in a village together in North Portland where they will each have their own living space and a communal kitchen and bathroom. They will share the responsibility of keeping the communal spaces in good condition.
This is not a permanent placement for these women. The village is meant as a stopping point for them as they continue looking for more long-term housing options. That does not make it any less valuable. People have a much easier time looking for jobs and living their lives in a productive manner when they have a safe home base to start from.
Portland does have homeless shelters already, but this village is a test to see how well tiny houses work in comparison. Many homeless people have a difficult time living in the often cramped conditions of shelters. This may be due to traumatic experiences in their past or ongoing mental illnesses. Tiny houses allow them to have their own personal space where they can escape the noises and crowds of shelters. While the women live in the village, they will also have the ability to work with case managers who can help them to get back on their feet.
The setup of the village is largely thanks to students at Portland University’s Center for Public Interest Design. They designed the village and also helped to put it in place. Other organizations, such as the Village Building Coalition and Catholic Charities, have also been heavily involved in the process of creating and running the Portland village.
The project has seen a great deal of support from the surrounding community. Many neighbors volunteered to help set up the village, while others helped find the women who will be living there. The continuing support of the community will be important for the village’s success.