Village of Hope: continuing to keep hope alive

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A Hope Village storage area. Cory Elia/PSU Vanguard

Months after the eviction of the houseless community known as Village of Hope in February 2018, village organizers continue to support those unhoused.

At a mini-storage facility located on Northeast Airport Way in Portland, Pastor Steve Kimes and four volunteers sorted the food items they deliver weekly to about two dozen houseless encampments. Kimes and his group spend a good two hours organizing bread, drinks, pastries, milk, vegetables, fruits, canned and dry food and even meat when they know someone has the ability to cook it.

Under the constant roar of airplane engines approaching Portland International Airport, a volunteer who identified themself as Thumper explained, “In this area, the airplanes passing overheard is known as a Parkrose pause, where people will pause their conversations and televisions will lose their signal until the airplane completely passes over.”

Thumper said if it wasn’t for Kimes’ and the Village of Hope organizers’ support, he would have died last year.

According to the 2017 Domicile Unknown report, an annual report conducted jointly by Street Roots and Multnomah County officials, 79 houseless individuals died on the streets last year. Six of those deaths were from hypothermia. The majority of the deceased were white males and about half of the deaths were drug related.

Village of Hope has been acting in a support capacity for Portland’s houseless community since their eviction and threats of fines by the city for the clean-up of their former protest village. The fines were later dropped.

Dignity Village is one of the group’s regular stops on their food delivery route, along with Right to Dream Too.

Kimes said he and his group hope to purchase land to re-open Village of Hope sometime in the future. “Oftentimes, these camps and villages are out of the way of the resources they need. That is why we do this,” he said.

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