A Village Run By People Experiencing Homelessness

An encampment of people experiencing homelessness was reimagined as a tiny home village that still provides housing 20 years later.

A Dignity Village home in 2005. (Photo by Cheryl / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

With over half a million people today experiencing homelessness, many cities have resorted to banning camping and clearing out encampments, but Dignity Village in Portland offers an example of a long-term solution.

In this episode of the Next City podcast, executive director Lucas Grindley talks with housing correspondent Roshan Abraham about his reporting on Dignity Village, which was established over 20 years ago when people refused to let their camp get swept away by an anti-camping law. Today it is one of the continent’s only self-governed communities created and run by people experiencing homelessness.

We also meet Lisa Larson, a resident and chairperson of Dignity Village, about her experiences living in the village and how it has transformed her life. Larson explains how Dignity Village is run by its residents who contribute to the village's operation with a $75 fee and maintenance in the form of “sweat equity.” 

To explore the inner workings of Dignity Village, its impact on the lives of its residents, and the potential for this model to be replicated in other cities, listen to this episode below or subscribe to Next City’s podcast on Apple, Spotify or Goodpods.

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