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 Women’s 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 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.

23
women have moved into permanent supportive housing
15
women have started jobs
23
women have started volunteering in the local community

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 homelessness 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...

  • 23 have moved into permanent supportive housing
  • 14 received an ID
  • 8 received a birth certificate
  • 13 received eye care
  • 8 received dental care
  • 15 started jobs
  • 20 have developed income
  • 10 have completed or are pending completion of Rent Well
  • 23 have received mental health services
  • 22 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 Columnia-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

We are currently in need of...

  • Mini projector with tripod
  • Adult sleeping bags
  • Fleece blankets
  • Space heaters
  • Toilet paper
  • Safeway gift cards
  • Coffee
  • Flashlights
  • Umbrellas
  • Cork boards/bulletin boards

Other needs include...

  • Foldable storage bins cube organizers
  • Desktop lamps
  • Bedside lamps
  • AA batteries
  • Closet organizers
  • Storage bins
  • Clorox disinfecting wipes
  • WiFi repeater/wireless router signal booster
  • Happy birthday cards
  • Laundry detergent
Articles

In Memory of Katie Nolan: A Dedication to Those in Need

Posted By | Jennifer Lucena, Homeless Services Manager
On July 6, 2020, our Hosing Transitions Program wished the late Katie Nolan, former Catholic Charities staff member and symbol of our mission to serve those in need, a very happy birthday. With face coverings and social distancing the HTP team shared 50 sack meals (including a commemorative photo and story of Katie) with people…

Kenton Women's Village Celebrates New Community Space, Increased Health Care Enrollment

Posted By | Catholic Charities of Oregon
After a year of planning, the new community space at Kenton Women’s Village is finished! See photos of the project and the impact it has already had on villagers.

COVID-19 Update: New Ways to Help

Posted By | Deacon Rick Birkel

The Challenge of Homelessness in Oregon - What's to be done?

Posted By | John Gould, Doug Walta, Steve Schell, Tuck Wilson
As a leader in the community, Catholic Charities’ long-standing work and expertise in serving those experiencing homelessness led to a partnership with John Gould, Doug Walta, Steve Schell and Tuck Wilson. The diverse group of professionals came together to gather research and best practices over two years to produce their new report, The Challenge of…