‘Vets Village’ shows early success

From: Dylan Blaylock, Clackamas County Public and Government Affairs, 503-742-5917

Media and Interested Parties

The Clackamas County Veterans Village – a transitional shelter community for homeless veterans – is showing tremendous signs of success just two months after opening. 

The goal of this innovative project is to provide decent, safe and sanitary shelter for the county’s homeless veterans so that they can transition to being self-sufficient. 

Each resident gets to stay in their own pod structure, can access shared community spaces, and has access to needed services.

After nearly two years’ worth of efforts by county staff, nonprofits, businesses, volunteers and others, homeless veterans started moving into the Clackamas-area village on Oct. 4. 

The fast, positive results are startling:

  • Two individuals who entered the village have already transitioned into permanent housing. These transitions were made through the county’s Social Services housing programs.
  • Two other individuals have secured employment since becoming residents. Three others are pursuing potential employment with a local fire department after being approached by a representative. 
  • Two other individuals that previously relied on emergency medicine have now established primary care physicians and have regular medical visits. 
  • One individual has enrolled in classes at Clackamas Community College. 

“The village is working exactly as designed, and doing so very successfully,” stated Clackamas County Housing Policy Coordinator Vahid Brown. “This success is happening more quickly than anticipated. I cannot say enough about the good work of Do Good Multnomah, which operates the site for us.” 

The establishment of the village has also potentially saved lives. Since moving in, three residents experienced extremely serious and urgent health problems, necessitating emergency services to rush to the scene. If these veterans had been on the streets – away from this new community – each one would have risked death. 

One key aspect to the Vets Village project is that the veterans can access needed services on site. Thus far, regular visits are being held by: 

  • Veterans Affairs (VA) staff, including individuals from the Veterans Affairs Supporting Housing (VASH) program, and a Veterans Services Officer who helps establish or re-establish veteran benefits 
  • Food by Design, which provides gardening and nutrition training
  • Clackamas County Social Services, which assists with finding housing 
  • Easter Seals Oregon, which assists in finding employment and obtaining needed job certification
  • Goodwill Jobs, which connects participants to employment opportunities. 

“This is a great success thus far, but Clackamas County is taking a holistic approach to the housing challenges that all of our residents face,” states Clackamas County Administrator Don Krupp. “We are committed to doing what we can so that all of our residents have access to safe, affordable housing.” 

Commissioner Paul Savas, an early supporter of the project, linked this early result to the Board of County Commissioners’ goals.

“We have a goal to end veteran homelessness in the county by the end of 2019,” states Savas. “This is good news and a great example toward achieving that goal.”  

More on the Vets Village project can be found at http://bit.ly/ClackCoVetVillage

For more information, members of the media or public can contact Community Relations Specialist Dylan Blaylock at dblaylock@clackamas.us or 503-742-5917.