Tents and Tarps Give Hope to the Homeless in Dignity Village
By: Katie Cordrey -
Dignity Village is a place in Portland, Oregon where 50 to 60 homeless people can pitch tents or live in makeshift shelters. They are able to plant gardens and participate in a number of green-lifestyle activities. This arrangement serves both the residents of the village and the citizens of Portland by keeping homeless people from sleeping in doorways or on the streets. No children are allowed in the village because residents may have criminal convictions that could compromise the safety of children. There is also a lot of construction going on, further increasing the danger to children.
The rules are basic:
- No violence toward yourself or others.
- No illegal substances or alcohol or paraphernalia on the premises or within a one-block radius.
- No stealing.
- Everyone contributes to the upkeep and welfare of the village and works to become a productive member of the community.
- No disruptive behavior of any kind that disturbs the general peace and welfare of the village.
The project is entering its ninth year and boasts a common area structure with amenities for residents as well as a second-hand store to help it pay its bills. Residents and supporters hope it will serve as a model for other cities dealing with homelessness.