In April of 2021, Portland City Council unanimously passed the Shelter to Housing Continuum: this ordinance changed our zoning code to allow for siting outdoor villages, and it instructed city bureaus to identify city-owned properties that could potentially be used for outdoor shelters.
In June of 2021, City Council unanimously passed the Paving the Pathway from Streets to Stability ordinance (#190478), which codified our approach toward outdoor shelters and provided the regulatory tools we need to build six Safe Rest Villages before the end of the year. Safe Rest Villages will be outdoor shelters—not tents—that provide a place for Portlanders to sleep, basic and necessary hygiene, and access to case management and behavioral health services. Safe Rest Villages will provide harm reduction. With dignity, stable living, and support services, the trauma and volatility of life on the streets can be reduced, allowing for healing and stability with the goal being for villagers to be able to enter recovery, return home / reconnect with family, or find permanent supportive housing, among other options.
These villages will be managed by a contracted social service provider selected by the Joint Office of Homeless Services.
Safe Rest Villages will serve as an improved point of entry for Portlanders on the continuum from living on the streets to finding stability in permanent housing—they may look like a safe park program for people living in RVs or tiny houses like Kenton Women's Village. All Safe Rest Villages will include wraparound services.
Safe Rest Villages are among a range of services and program models being employed to address houselessness. And the City and Multnomah County—through the Joint Office of Homeless Services, and with federal funding and revenue from the Metro Supportive Housing Services Measure—are actively expanding that system of services, which serves tens of thousands of people every year.
Together, we are adding additional shelter capacity, including village-style and motel shelters, along with more outreach workers, more behavioral health resources, and more rental assistance resources to house people. Some of those new investments are already in place and are making a difference right now. Many more will be online in the coming weeks and months.
Who has responsibility for what?
The Safe Rest Villages team working out of Commissioner Ryan’s office (the City of Portland) is responsible for selecting sites, procuring all the pods and materials to develop all the shared facilities (restrooms, showers, laundry, kitchen, gathering spaces, etc.) and leasing the land for sites. Basically all the infrastructure.
The Joint Office of Homeless Services, led by Multnomah County is responsible for recruiting site operators, and then overseeing the shelter operations, in tandem with the operators they select. The mental, behavioral, and physical health providers would be arranged by the County and shelter operators. Basically all the programs.
All of the costs, for both infrastructure and programmatic aspects of the program will be funded by the $16M dedicated to Safe Rest Villages, and will need to follow strict federal spending guidelines, and procurement processes.
Learn more about Safe Rest Villages through the links below: