HomeAid Portland Participates in Pod Build Challenge

April 15, 2019

Home Builders Foundation-HomeAid Portland joined Catholic Charities of Oregon, SRG Partnership, City of Portland’s Joint Office of Homeless Services, LMC Construction, and PSU’s Center for Public Interest Design to construct sleeping pods for the newly relocated Kenton Women’s Village. Kenton Women’s Village is a creative, collaborative year-long pilot project, offering a new potential approach for addressing houselessness at a small scale, which could be adapted and implemented in communities across the country.

The village is made up of 14 sleeping pods (not larger than 8 by 12 feet), designed and built in late 2016 as part of the POD (Partners on Dwelling) Initiative, which brought together a citywide coalition of architects, housing advocates, and houseless individuals. A fully operational kitchen and shower facilities, installed in customized shipping containers, have been added to the site, with water delivery and garbage service being provided. A community garden has been planted, so that residents and neighbors can collaborate and interact as the women make the village their home.

The residents of the Kenton Women’s Village are drawn largely from the Kenton and North Portland areas. Through Catholic Charities, the 14 formerly houseless women are receiving access to services including case management, employment assistance, access to legal and financial services, mental and physical health care, and support creating and implementing a personalized plan to transition to permanent housing by the time they leave the village. The residents range in age from 20s to 60s.

To complete the village, it was decided to enlist the building industry in a friendly competition to tackle the issue of homelessness head on. Twenty-one teams joined the Pod Challenge to build one of three prototypes of sleeping pods over eight weeks. Nine of the twenty-one builders were HBA-sponsored teams including Builders FirstSource, BC Custom Construction, Legend Homes, Stephens Homes, Elite Development NW and DR Horton (who had four teams). Additionally, Builders FirstSource in partnership with JELD-WEN, provided $15k worth of windows and doors to each of the pods.

We are proud to say that four of our HBA teams - Elite Development NW, Stephens Homes and two DR Horton pods - brought home awards out of seven awards to be had. Congratulations to all participat-ing teams and vendors who donated to this Home Builders Foundation-HomeAid Portland project!

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