When Abbotsford’s mayor said he’s open to a semi-permanent campsite for homeless people in the city, housing advocates pointed to a model in Portland that he should follow.
Dignity Village started as a plot of land donated by the city, where homeless people could pitch their tents. Thirteen years later, it’s evolved into the community Scott Layman calls home.
“We have a computer for everyone,” he tells us. “We have a common room, which is large — it’s open, and where the TV is and we have our meetings. We have showers for us and the public. It’s very colourful.”
“It’s meant to be transitional. It’s meant to be where you come in, get back on your feet, and go back to mainstream society. My wife and I have been here a little bit longer because we’ve fallen into the leadership roles.”
The average stay is two years. Funding for Dignity Village mainly comes from donations.
In Abbotsford, a group of people living at a makeshift camp were just evicted by the city; they moved 100 feet down the road.