Kenton Women’s Village

Kenton Women’s Village is a creative, collaborative year-long pilot project, offering a new potential approach for addressing houselessness at a small scale, which could be adapted and implemented in communities across the country. The village was created through partnerships with local government, nonprofit, and educational institutions: Catholic Charities, City of Portland, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, the Village Coalition, Prosper Portland, Almar Contracting, Portland State University School of Architecture’s Center for Public Interest Design, Kenton Neighborhood Association, Catlin Gabel InvenTeam, and dozens of other community businesses, organizations, and individuals.

The village is made up of 14 sleeping pods (not larger than 8 by 12 feet), designed and built in late 2016 as part of the POD (Partners on Dwelling) Initiative, which brought together a citywide coalition of architects, housing advocates, and houseless individuals.

A fully operational kitchen and shower facilities, installed in customized shipping containers, have been added to the site, with water delivery and garbage service being provided. A community garden has been planted, so that residents and neighbors can collaborate and interact as the women make the village their home.

The residents of the Kenton Women’s Village are drawn largely from the Kenton and North Portland areas. Through Catholic Charities, the 14 formerly houseless women are receiving access to services including case management,  employment assistance, access to legal and financial services, mental and physical health care, and support creating and implementing a personalized plan to transition to permanent housing by the time they leave the village. The residents range in age from 20s to 60s.

Video courtesy of the Catholic Sentinel.

Interested in Volunteering or Donating?

Kenton Women’s Village and its residents are grateful for the time and generosity of volunteers and supporters. To learn about current volunteer opportunities for individuals or groups, please click here.

To make a donation to Kenton Women’s Village, please click here.

Why is the Village Model an Innovative Approach? 

  • The Village can offer safety, security, community and basic human needs to people who are living outside.
  • A wide range of services can be offered efficiently with on-site case management, health and mental health services and housing placement.
  • The Village connects residents with community volunteers, leveraging staff hours by helping women with concrete assistance as they look for housing, education and employment opportunities.
  • The Village can end long term and chronic homelessness for its residents, returning women to their communities and reducing the high cost of emergency services.

Why Tiny House Villages?

  • Many women are unable to cope with the noise and lack of privacy in emergency shelters. A tiny house is private and has a locking door.
  • Sleeping outside is dangerous, leaving women vulnerable to intimidation, theft, sexual assault and physical assault. The Village is safe.  Possessions are safe.
  • The Village offers opportunities for community, leadership, self-governance and self-determination.
  • The short term nature of a temporary village offers both hope and a sense of urgency for moving toward permanent housing.

Visiting Kenton Women’s Village

Kenton Women’s Village is a private residence for fourteen women. Many community partners and volunteers worked to make the Village a reality, and have contributed time or talent or financial support to this important and innovative project. The residents of the Village, and all of the people who worked on the project, are most grateful for the extraordinary support they have received.

In an effort to protect the privacy and preserve the village as a home, outside visitation is limited to one pre-determined day per month. To learn more about our Public Visitor Policy, please review the document below. To inquire about visiting, click here. 

Media Requests

Catholic Charities asks that all media requests regarding Kenton Women’s Village be sent well in advance. Immediate access cannot be granted. To send a media request, click here. 

Public Visitor Policy

Kenton Women’s Village is a private residence for fourteen women.  Many community partners and volunteers worked to make the Village a reality, and have contributed time or talent or financial support to this important and innovative project. The residents of the Village, and all of the people who worked on the project, are most grateful for the extraordinary support they have received.

Monthly Tour Date: In order to offer friends and neighbors an opportunity to visit Kenton Women’s Village, and to learn about how this community works, the residents have established one visiting day each month when tours of the Village are considered, by appointment.

Time Restrictions and Size Limitations: To maintain respectful boundaries of this private residence, tours are intended to be brief, by appointment, and have a limitation on group size.

Please be Mindful of These Guidelines for Guests: 

  • Remain cognizant that Kenton Women’s Village is a private home for 14 individuals. Visitors are not permitted inside the women’s sleeping quarters.
  • Demonstrate respect for the privacy of the residents by not asking personal questions. You are a guest in their home.
  • Do not take photographs of people as such photographs violate confidentiality. Stock photos are available on request from Catholic Charities by emailing here.
  • Kenton Women’s Village is not a research site or an appropriate site for presentations. Residents are not available to be interviewed for research projects.
  • Please confirm your visit in advance of a scheduled tour day so that we are ready for you. Email with the number of, and the names of confirmed guests.

Kenton Women’s Village Press Coverage

June 9, 2017               Multnomah County News

June 12, 2017             The Path from Dignity Village to the new Kenton Women’s Village, KGW 8

June 20, 2017             Thanks to Catholic Charities, New Tiny House Development Opens, Catholic Sentinel

August 11, 2017         Catholic Charities Operated Tiny Houses are a Big Gift to Homeless Women, Catholic Sentinel

Give to Kenton Women’s Village

Without the generosity of donors, Catholic Charities would not be able to support the life-changing services at Kenton Women’s Village. The support of our community is instrumental in the success of all of our clients. Thank you for investing in this important work!

To make a gift to the Kenton Women’s Village by mail, send your check to the following address:

Catholic Charities
Attention: Development
2740 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97202

Click below to make an online gift.

Contact the village
– For site visits and tours contact KentonTours@CCOregon.org
– For Program information or to speak with the village manager contact Housing Transitions Program @ (971) 222 – 1880 or HTPemail@ccoregon.org
– To make a donation (click here https://www.catholiccharitiesoregon.org/inkinddonations/) or contact Partnerships@CCOregon.org