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Out of the Streets of Portland

Mar 11, 2024

Welcome to Out of the Streets of Portland, a podcast focused on sharing the stories of people who are currently or formerly homeless in our community, and helping navigate the systems and services that the Joint Office of Homeless Services and its partners either have in place, or are developing, to help people move out of homelessness and back into stable, supportive housing. 

On this episode of Out of the Streets of Portland, in honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we are featuring the story and work of Kenton Women’s Village.

This village was opened in the Kenton neighborhood in June of 2017 - the second village-style shelter to open in Portland. Dignity Village, the first in the country and the model for many other village-style shelters, opened in the year 2000 and is still in operation.

The Kenton Women’s Village is a 20-pod village which came about as the result of a concerted advocacy effort that included designers, houseless advocates, and service providers.

The village was the outcome of an effort in 2016 and 2017 called the Partners On Dwelling Village Coalition. Members of Portland State University’s Center for Public Interest Design were asked for pod designs for use at Hazelnut Grove and other newly forming villages. Rather than concentrate on the design of pods, the Center suggested a process that would result not only in a series of new pod prototypes, but also open up dialogue with the public about local government’s role in supporting village efforts.

Local architect Mark Lakeman, who is also the founder of Portland’s annual Village Building Convergence, provided guidance on the design of the pods by Portland State University students. Fourteen design teams created the different styles of sleeping pods in two months, for two thousand dollars each.

In 2019, the village was relocated to its current location on Columbia Boulevard.

Kenton Women’s Village is open to currently houseless self-identified women, including trans women, and offers opportunities for community, leadership, self-governance, and self-determination.

In this podcast, we speak with Valerie Yvette Peterson, a case manager at the village.

We also hear from a participant at the Kenton Women’s Village on what led to her losing her housing, and how Kenton Women’s Village is helping her get back on her feet.

More information about the Kenton Women’s Village can be found on their website

And a full list of shelters funded by the Joint Office of Homeless Services, including congregate, motel and alternative, village-style shelters can be found on the JOHS website.

This podcast is produced by the Joint Office of Homeless Services, a Multnomah County department with funding from the County, the City of Portland, Metro, and the state and federal governments to house, shelter, and provide, street outreach, navigation, employment assistance, assistance obtaining social security income, and case management to people experiencing homelessness in our community.

Please subscribe to our podcast to get notified every time a new episode is posted. You can find us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts by searching for ‘Out of the Streets of Portland’.