PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new transitional housing village made up of tiny homes could soon be a reality in the Saint Johns neighborhood.
A church off North Richmond is offering a lease on its land in order to build the tiny home village. It would be constructed on an open plot of land behind the Saint Johns Christian Church. Organizers said people experiencing homelessness in Saint Johns would be offered first priority.
The project is a combined effort by Do Good Multnomah and the Saint Johns Christian Church. An architect is currently working on plans to fill the green lot with 20 tiny homes that will serve as transitional housing to help get those in need off the streets and work toward more permanent housing.
The homes will be single-person with a communal shower and bathroom space, according to Andy Goebel, a pastor in North Portland who also stands in as a North Portland Winter Shelter manager and serves on the Board for Do Good Multnomah.
“This is a place for people to get off of the streets, and to live for a period of time as they get things set in order to move into permanent, supportive housing,” said Goebel.
He said the Saint Johns Village would be modeled after other recent sleeping pod projects like Kenton Women’s Village. That village, which opened mid-2019, has bathrooms and a kitchen.
“That one is run by Catholic charities and it’s just been shown to be a successful model,” said Goebel. He also cites the Veteran’s Village in Clackamas County as another example of a tiny home shelter that has proven to work.
Goebel said the groups working on the Home for Everyone project have already reached out to people in the Hazelnut Grove Camp about potentially relocating here.
“We’re in conversation with folks from the Grove about that transition,” said Goebel.
He has heard both positive and negative feedback from residents about the plans for a new village.
“One of the concerns sometimes is that this is a camp of some sort, but what folks begin to see—and you can see in other projects—is it’s anything but that,” said Goebel. “These are well-constructed. It has more of a neighborhood and a village feel.”
Goebel said they recently signed a lease for the property, but said there is no timeline for opening. The group A Home for Everyone also involved in the project said it could be finished by the end of this year.