PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — It’s taken almost a year longer than expected, but the second of Portland’s six Safe Rest Villages is about to open, set up at the Menlo Park and Ride near 122nd and East Burnside.
To be clear, this is one of the smaller tiny home villages that’s been in the works for a long time — not one of the larger camps proposed by Mayor Wheeler earlier this month.
Commissioner Dan Ryan told KGW on Friday that they’ve faced multiple challenges in opening up the Safe Rest Villages, from supply chain issues, to bureaucracy, to concerns from neighbors. Moving forward, he said he’s optimistic the additional four villages will be on a faster timeline.
“These are on-ramps,” he said, “So people can get safe, and build their resilience. We can get to know them by name, know what kind of services they need. And I know when we track the data, we’re going to see if someone spent some time in a Safe Rest Village – they’re going to be in permanent housing, permanently. That’s the goal.”
Menlo Park Safe Rest Village is on property owned by TriMet and will house 55 people. Each person will get a tiny home and share amenities like restrooms, a kitchen, and laundry.
Cultivate Initiatives, a non-profit supporting the homeless community in East Portland, will manage the village. They hope to officially open mid-November.
The fenced-in, low-barrier village will be staffed around the clock in order to keep residents safe.
“When people choose to be inside an environment where there’s 24/7 supervision, they’re making a decision on a pathway to building resilience,” said Commissioner Ryan. “And the fact that more and more Portlanders who are unhoused want that – that’s why we have to keep offering these services.”
As for the four additional Safe Rest Villages, Commissioner Ryan could only say they would be opening in the “coming months,” after pushing back the timeline more than once.
“I’ve learned with the issues around supply chain right now, it’s just hard to predict exactly when,” he said. “And then the Joint Office at the county is our partner picking the providers so they have they’ve made selections on the provider for the site out in outer Lents, and we’re still waiting for information on who will run the site, which is basically almost ready to open, which is a Sunderland Safe Park site.”
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