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 a 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.
  • Offers a wide range of services can be offered efficiently with on-site case management, health and mental health services and housing placement.
  • Connects villagers with community volunteers, leveraging staff hours by helping women with concrete assistance as they look for housing, education and employment opportunities.
  • Alleviates long term and chronic homelessness, 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.

Walk-in donation drop offs are welcomed, or, for a tax-deductible receipt, please contact the village manager, Bernadette Stetz, to schedule a drop-off time.

As We Reopen Our Kitchen to an Increased Number of Clients, We Are Currently in Need of...

  • Kitchen supplies, including pots and pans
  • Large utensils (spoons, knives, etc.)
  • Cups, bowls, and plates
  • Tupperware, tin foil, and other basic kitchen needs

To Prepare Our New Pods with Move-In Kits, Other Needs Include...

  • Blankets & comforters
  • Pillows
  • Towels
  • Throw rugs
  • Curtains
  • Laundry detergent
  • General cleaning supplies for kitchen and bathrooms
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