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Funding for Safe Rest Villages

Visitor reading banner at Menlo Park Safe Rest Village pre-opening event

This page originally published 9.23.21; updated 5.26.23

Where does the money come from?

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided a federal grant to the City of Portland for a range of projects with one priority area being Houselessness Response and Household Stabilization. ARPA funds are for 3 years, through Dec. 2024.

How much is the SRV budget?

City Council allocated $16.02M to the Safe Rest Village program in the first round of ARPA dollars, as one of the projects within that priority area of Houselessness Response and Household Stabilization.

What about the future?

The Streets to Stability ARPA Round 2 Decision Package requested an additional $28.1M to fund the Safe Rest Village program through the end of December 2024.

The SRV team presented at a City Council budget work session on March 29 to provide program updates and to explain the request for continued funding for the next two years of the program. If you really want to get into the weeds, check out that budget session. It’s really informative and shows how the SRV program fits in the housing continuum with the Portland Housing Bureau and Joint Office of Homeless Services programs. 

How is the budget broken down?

Capital Costs range for each site depending on the conditions (size of lot, raw land vs. paved/graveled lot, fencing length, proximity to utilities, access points, environmental remediation required, etc.).

  • Site development – site leveling, permits, trenching, utility connections, fencing, etc.—$350,000-$750,000 per site.
  • Communal service structures—restrooms with showers, laundry, kitchenettes, on-site management office, social spaces—$150,000-$300,000 per site.
  • Sleeping units/pods—pods range from $10,000 to $25,000 depending on unit and vendor. 60 pods per site would range from $600,000 to $1,500,000. (Not needed at RV Safe Park).

Program Costs will range as well, based on the shelter operator and the number of sleeping units and Villagers served at a given site. This cost is generally budgeted to be $1.5M - $3.0M per site, per year. Program costs include all staffing by the shelter operator, costs for related support services (mental and behavioral health, peer support), village operations, food, materials, supplies, etc. The funds for programming will be passed through to the JOHS, who will oversee the shelter operator contract for each Safe Rest Village.

Ongoing Operational Costs include leases/rent, electricity, garbage, water, and sewer, which will be kept in the City’s name and paid for by the SRV program. This depends on the site, but for our program, it ranges from $100,000 to $300,000 per year. 

How does that compare to other types of shelters/services?

This is the important question—putting costs in context with other programs and similar services. We recognize standing up and running shelters is costly. We also firmly believe that providing temporary outdoor shelters with services and support is an important and necessary part of the mix of options for people in need. City Council has unanimously supported this approach and the Safe Rest Village program. 

  • Congregate shelter—$20,000-$25,000 per bed per year.
  • Village style alternative/outdoor shelter—$30,000-$35,000 per unit per year.
  • Motel shelter—$40,000 per room per year.

It is important to note that most congregate shelters just offer a bed for the night and do not offer wraparound services. Motel shelters often offer supportive services. Safe Rest Villages will offer vital supportive services that build resilience. 

How many unhoused people will be served by Safe Rest Villages?

Safe Rest Villages are short-term shelters. We anticipate the average stay will be 6-9 months, during which time we assess Villagers' needs and help them on their path to permanent housing. 300 shelter units across six Safe Rest Villages will serve 1050-1575 Villagers by the end of December 2024.

The City of Portland is investing ARP money in three priority categories:

American Rescue Plan logo - Investing in Portland
American Rescue Plan - Investing in Portland
  • Houselessness Response and Household Stabilization
  • Small Business and Commercial District Stabilization
  • Community Health and Safety

Read more about these investments in this article: American Rescue Plan: Investing in Portland