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3 city-sanctioned safe rest villages announced for Portland homeless

PORTLAND (AP) — Three Portland neighborhoods will soon be home to the city’s first “safe rest villages.”

Commissioner Dan Ryan is leading the effort to construct six city-sanctioned outdoor homeless villages by the end of the year, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

He announced the downtown, Brentwood-Darlington and Hazelwood locations on Thursday. He said the sites are a critical response to the “humanitarian crisis” unfolding on Portland’s streets.

In this Associated Press aerial photo taken with a drone, pods to be used in homeless camps are show while under construction in Portland, Oregon, in December of 2020. It was announced this week that three Portland neighborhoods will soon be home to the city’s first “safe rest villages,” which include sleeping pods and a host of other basic living accommodations and support services.

While there hasn't been an official count of Portland’s homeless population since 2019, encampments appear to have proliferated during the pandemic.

These villages will be outdoor shelters where people experiencing homelessness can safely stay and receive basic services. Showers, beds, bathrooms and support services including case management and mental health support will be offered.

Ryan, who oversees the city-side of the Joint Office of Homeless Services, emphasized that each village will be fenced with each individual possessing their own “sleeping pod.” Combined, the city expects the three sites to host about 120 people.

“We can’t wait for affordable housing to be ready for every houseless person," Ryan told reporters Thursday.

Ryan announced his plan for the villages this summer, which he said could be funded by about $16 million from the federal money the city received through the American Rescue Plan.