Villages for homeless people are set to debut on the streets of Portland, Oregon early next year.
The first three government-sanctioned homeless camps, which have been dubbed “Safe Rest Village” sites by the liberal city, will be up and running at the start of 2022, officials announced Thursday.
The camps will have individual sleeping pods outfitted with electricity, heating and locking doors. Shared bathrooms, kitchens and laundromats will also be set up in the villages.
Each homeless camp will hold about 60 people, Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan said Thursday.
The homeless will be granted access to the camp if they’re given referrals from first responders, social or homeless services and park rangers.
Massive homeless encampments have plagued Portland in recent years, with the city vowing back in May to start start cleaning up or removing the ever-increasing influx of tent cities.
The sites, which are being locked in for three-year leases, are currently parking lots or commercial lots.
“We want to make sure that they were in areas where neighbors are experiencing a high degree of unsanctioned camping,” Ryan said.
At least one of the villages is being erected close to an international elementary school – heightening concerns among some parents for their children’s safety.
One mother told KOIN the thought of the homeless camp across from the school was “disconcerting.”
Another said they were concerned about mentally ill homeless people wandering into the school.
“If there is somebody that is having an episode, whether mentally or is on some sort of substance, and then they kind of start walking or they start to get on the school property,” she said of her concern.
“But I just have to trust that the school is going to handle it in the best way that is going to be most safe for the students.”
Officials are planning to name another three homeless camp sites in the coming months.