Safe Rest Villages Program Overview

Tiny homes at Menlo Safe Rest Village

This page was originally published Thursday 9.23.21; it was last updated 3.19.24.

What are Safe Rest Villages?

Safe Rest Villages are alternative shelters that serve as improved points of entry for Portlanders on the continuum from living on the streets to finding stability in permanent housing. Our program is mostly focused on alternative, outdoor shelters, but we are also in charge of Portland's first RV Safe Park. All Safe Rest Villages include case management with wraparound behavioral and mental health services.  Safe Rest Villages are not sites or unmanaged tent or vehicle camping—they address unmanaged camping. 

Why are Safe Rest Villages needed?

Safe Rest Villages are among a range of services and program models employed to address our homelessness crisis. The City and Multnomah County—through the Joint Office of Homeless Services with federal funding and revenue from the Metro Supportive Housing Services Measure—are expanding that system to serve tens of thousands of people every year.

In addition to Safe Rest Villages, the City and the County 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 in place making a difference right now, and many more will be online in the coming months. 

How do Safe Rest Villages work?

Safe Rest Villages provide:

  • A New Service Model. The Safe Rest Villages model—outdoor shelters with on-site case management and wraparound mental and behavioral health services—is relatively new to Portland, and similar models have succeeded in other cities. 
  • Entry by Referral. Entry is by referral for adults only (18+). Partners and pets are allowed at all Villages. Referrals will be made by the Street Services Coordination Center, Portland Fire & Rescue, and Portland Street Response, among other social service providers engaging with those living outside through a referral program managed by the Joint Office of Homeless Services. 
  • On-Site Services for Participants Only. Services and programs offered on-site are only for villagers; these are not walk-up sites, not day sites, and will not be cause for queueing.
  • A Minimum of One Meal a Day. Shelter operators will provide at least one meal a day, and each Village has a shared kitchenette space for all to use.
  • Services & Flexibility. Villagers are encouraged to take advantage of the programs and services offered as they experience the stability and safety of life in a Village.
Services provided, by category, at Safe Rest Villages

Since there will be a variety of shelter operators, beyond these commonalities we hope each Village takes on its own character.  We expect variations based on the participants themselves, services needed, and the community spaces they develop, both from within the Village and from the surrounding community.   

Currently, we are working with the following shelter operators:

Where are the Safe Rest Villages?

Check out the Locations of ARPA-funded alternative shelters page for more information on where they are. These pages are kept up to date as details evolve for each Village location. 

Multnomah County also funds operations of a variety of alternative shelters throughout the County. 

Who is responsible for what?

It takes a village to support a Village. Many partners are involved in the success of each village. Most sites are a collaboration by the City of Portland, Multnomah County, through the Joint Office of Homeless Services, and a shelter operator, though the Joint Office is not involved with Peninsula Crossing or Reedway Safe Rest Villages.

The City of Portland's Safe Rest Villages team is responsible for selecting sites, procuring pods and materials to develop the shared facilities (restrooms, showers, laundry, kitchen, gathering spaces, etc.), and leasing the land. This team also oversees community engagement; presenting about the program to community groups; manages the project email inbox, which receives input from both housed and unhoused neighbors; and manages relationships for all sites. The City also leads the Good Neighbor Agreement for all sites that want one. For Peninsula Crossing or Reedway Safe Rest Villages, the Safe Rest Village team manages the contract for the shelter operator.

The Joint Office of Homeless Services, led by Multnomah County, is responsible for recruiting site operators and overseeing the shelter operations in tandem with the operators they select. The mental, behavioral, and physical health providers are arranged by the County and shelter operators. 

The referral process - helping people in need find their way to the shelter sites - varies by site.

The shelter operators handle day-to-day operations at each Village and provide wraparound services to participants. They also attend neighborhood meetings to help integrate themselves into the community. 

How are Safe Rest Villages funded?

A federal grant from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) supports a range of projects throughout the City of Portland, including these alternative shelters. It is not the only project in Portland funded by ARPA dollars, nor the only one that addresses issues of homelessness. The SRV project team manages the largest portion of the City grant funds from ARPA, which includes the seven designated Safe Rest Villages, as well as the two other alternative shelters.  Additionally, the State of Oregon has provided funding for the Sunderland RV Safe Park. 

We want to be transparent and accountable with how the City of Portland is spending American Rescue Plan money. Explore the different projects at our Rescue Plan Open Data website.

This site will be updated as the City's Safe Rest Village initiative moves forward. There is much more information throughout our site, and if you have any additional questions, please reach out at saferestvillages@portlandoregon…