Kenton Women’s Village

Kenton Women’s Village is a creative and collaborative project, offering a new approach for addressing houselessness at a small scale. The villagers are empowered, have a sense of purpose, and take daily steps toward permanent housing.

Kenton Women's Village

The village was created through partnerships with local government, nonprofit, and educational institutions: Catholic Charities of Oregon, City of Portland, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, the Village CoalitionProsper PortlandAlmar ContractingPortland State University School of Architecture’s Center for Public Interest DesignKenton Neighborhood AssociationCatlin Gabel InvenTeam, and dozens of other community businesses, organizations, and individuals.

The village is made up of 20 sleeping pods (no larger than 8 by 12 feet), designed and built in late 2016 as part of the Partners on Dwelling (POD) Initiative, which brought together a citywide coalition of architects, housing advocates, and houseless individuals. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we allow only 15 women to reside in the village at one time. Those from the Kenton neighborhood receive priority placement.

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.

Through Catholic Charities of Oregon, 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.

39
women have moved into permanent supportive housing
41
women have developed income
61
women are receiving mental health services
47
women are working with a peer support specialist
30
women have completed a Rent Well course

Why Is the Village Model an Innovative Approach?

  • This program offers 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, physical and mental health services, and housing placement.
  • It is easier to connect villagers with community volunteers, leveraging staff hours by helping women with concrete assistance as they look for housing, education, and employment opportunities.
  • Long-term and chronic houselessness can be alleviated, 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.
A sign at Kenton Women's Village that says "Sisters of Kenton"

Since Moving into the Kenton Women's Village...

  • 39 have moved into permanent supportive housing
  • 25 received a birth certificate of ID
  • 31 received eye care
  • 17 received dental care
  • 31 have started jobs
  • 41 have developed income
  • 30 have completed Rent Well
  • 61 are receiving mental health services
  • 47 are working with a peer support specialist
  • 11 have received pet care
  • 23 have started volunteering locally with organizations like Food by Design, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Portland People’s Harm Reduction Project and the Oregon Food Bank
Kenton Women's Village

In-Kind Needs

Kenton Women’s Village is located at 2420 N Columbia Blvd. Please note that the front gate entrance is only accessible by foot. While there is no parking lot, parallel parking is available on Argyle before the Columbia-Argyle intersection.

Please do not bring unannounced donations. Contact the village manager, Bernadette Stetz, to schedule a drop-off time. Tax-deductible receipts will be provided.

View Our Amazon Wish List

Please consider donating the following supplies:

  • Toilet paper
  • Safeway gift cards
  • Coffee
  • Umbrellas
  • Bedside lamps
  • AA batteries
  • Closet organizers
  • Storage bins
  • Clorox or Lysol disinfecting wipes
  • Laundry detergent
Articles

Year-end housing finance changes benefit Healthy Housing Initiative projects

Posted By | Travis Phillips, Director of Community Development & Housing
In its year-end pandemic relief and funding package, Congress delivered a surprise gift for affordable housing: wonky but noteworthy improvements to one of the most common methods of paying for affordable housing, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).

Amid Pandemic, Catholic Charities' Dedicated Housing Entity Pledges Homes and Provides Rental Assistance

Posted By | Travis Phillips, Director of Community Development & Housing
The COVID-19 pandemic and housing crisis in Oregon have created acute uncertainty, especially for those who are vulnerable to houselessness. Our dedicated housing entity, Caritas Housing, is taking steps to keep its residents comforted and sheltered.

Resident Services: Distanced but not Disconnected

Posted By | Sally Erickson, Supportive Services Manager
Through two major crises this year, the COVID-19 pandemic and Oregon wildfires, our resident services coordinators (RSCs) have served as our residents’ lifelines to critical resources like food, hygiene supplies, and information. Perhaps more profoundly, however, our staff has helped residents—many of whom live alone and depend on their housing communities—maintain the essential human connection…

Housing (in)Stability

Posted By | Rose Bak, Chief Program Officer
In a region that has already experienced increasingly high rates of homelessness and instability over the last ten years, the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to impact our community for years to come. Catholic Charities’ Chief Program Officer, Rose Bak, illustrates the urgent need for more systemic supports for those experiencing, or who are vulnerable…
Rose Bak