Home Builders Foundation’s new prototype for homeless shelters is up and running at Portland’s BIPOC Village. The “MOD” was trucked into place at the NE Portland site in late January. HBF’s donated the building to be used for case managers helping formerly houseless people who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
HBF commissioned the “MOD” three- room structure to promote its future use for transitional housing villages. The “MOD” was designed by base design+ architecture and built last year inside builder Nathan Young’s MODS PDX modular building facility in North Portland. The building features three 112- square foot rooms, each with electricity and heating. The “MOD’s” shared walls and roofing make it more efficient and cost effective to build than an individual unit.
What is the BIPOC Village?
The BIPOC Village was formerly one of three “C3PO” villages, which stands for “Creating Conscious Communities with People Outside “. The village moved from near OMSI in the summer of 2021. It started as a self-governed village, but in the fall, the city’s Joint Office of Homeless Services transferred the operation of the village to All Good NW. This organization is a spin off from Do Good Multnomah. Do Good operates two of HBF’s pod village shelter building projects, St. John’s Village, and Clackamas Veterans Village. Those are considered the “gold standard” for Portland homeless villages by the Joint Office.
The BIPOC village is on Portland city-owned property, and can stay here until at least 2024. This is a supportive transitional housing village. All Good staff help with whatever villagers need to restore their lives, such as health care, and counseling. Before the “MOD” moved in, case workers were trying to do their jobs in an unheated shed without a door. Program Manager Ndem Nkem says the mood of his staff has changed ” The “MOD” has given us safety, warmth, and more organization as a staff… They have a safe place to do work, case management, training, store items, and feel secure “
Where to find the BIPOC Village?
You can’t see the village from the street, but you may notice its colorful fence along NE Weidler Street. The fence was painted by the village residents, and reveals what hopeful spirit lives inside. All Good staff explain that the residents are from many cultures and backgrounds and that “individuals take initiative, reclaim their voices, hold one another accountable, and speak into the fabric of the community life they’re building together”.
What’s Next for “MOD”
HBF is proud to donate the “MOD” to where it can put to the best use at the moment. Building and improving spaces that help shelter service providers is our core mission. “Home Builders Foundation is thankful to MODS PDX and our generous donors that made it possible for us to donate this unit to All Good NW, where it will serve on the font lines to serve the houseless in our community,” said Brenda Ketah, Executive Director of Home Builders Foundation.
HBF Is considering building an entire village of “MODS” for a village for the houseless, if land can be found in the Portland Metro area. This innovation in sheltering the houseless is the result of 25 years of experience improving the lives of some of Portland’s most vulnerable people. Since HBF was founded a quarter century ago, our organization and builder partners have helped building more than 75 structures, and assisted more than 30 shelter providers. Thousands of people have a safe place to sleep because of our work.