Dignity Village has been a fixture in Portland, Oregon, US, since 2010. The village, which was birthed over 20 years ago in response to the demands of unhoused activists, is the first sanctioned, self-run village for unhoused residents in the country. It remains one of very few communities of its kind in North America. Residents of Dignity Village pay $75 per month to live there and put in 10 hours a week of work on village business, which includes cleaning, maintenance, and paperwork. Residents of the village abide by a small set of rules ratified by members. Like some other US cities, Portland’s city council recently approved an aggressive citywide camping ban as well as a plan to herd many of the city’s unsheltered residents into six sanctioned camps of 250 people each. The current circumstances are similar in some ways to those existing when Dignity Village was founded and some village residents believe their model offers best practices the city could benefit from. “Everyone deserves a safe place to put their head at night, and a safe place to be…You know, you let the people make their own rules. You let the community decide what direction their community is going to go in,” said Lisa Larson, a long-time resident of Dignity Village.

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