‘Dignity Village’ Threatened by Anti-Camping Law

Portland’s ‘aggressive’ new camping ban could threaten the city’s most stable community of unhoused people, the two-decade old, self-governing Dignity Village.

1 minute read

November 18, 2022, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

An article by Roshan Abraham in Next City describes the self-governed, city-sanctioned Portland community of Dignity Village, a village that was created more than twenty years ago in response to a growing homelessness crisis.

The article outlines the history of the village and the ways that it has remained resilient for so long. “A crucial aspect of the village model is that residents have agency, Ferry says. The spaces are voluntary; residents can leave and there are few barriers to entry. It is hard to imagine any of these approaches being replicated in the planned 6 mega encampments the city is looking to build.” According to Abraham, “Residents in Dignity Village pay $75 a month to live there and put in 10 hours a week of work on village business, which includes cleaning, maintenance and paperwork.” The village is not focused on rehousing, but provides a safe, organized space for people with few other options.

Now, the village’s future is threatened by an aggressive new anti-homelessness policy passed by the city earlier this month. “By forcing people off of the streets, the plan could mean the village, which currently has a modest waitlist of three people, could be overwhelmed with requests. It could also lead many of the city’s unsheltered population to be jailed, forced into congregate shelter or driven away from the city.” 

Thursday, November 17, 2022 in Next City

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