On Sunday, Susan Oliver and I released a statement making public that allegations had been made about illegal activity taking place at the Kenton Women’s Village (KWV). Given the seriousness of some of these accusations that, for example, Catholic Charities might be dismissing and/or ignoring reports of criminal behavior at the KWV, we felt that the Kenton Neighborhood Association (KNA) needed to notify the neighborhood on some level of the situation and would report back once we knew more.
Although it quickly became publicly known, we didn’t speak to the nature of the supposed criminal activity as to not negatively impact any ongoing investigations nor exacerbate assumptions being made about our fellow neighbors. Of course, some were still quick to try to make this a told-you-so moment while others deemed our actions a reckless exercise in judging a vulnerable population and stirring up negative publicity.
Following our release, Catholic Charities reached out to the KNA and put out a press release, revealing that an investigation was taking place and that landlord-tenant law was limiting the ability for the rules and regulations of the KWV to be enforced. By Monday, the media was covering the situation, and the inaugural KWV Steering Committee meeting was working on ensuring the success of the KWV.
So, here’s where we stand:
- At this point in the investigation, Catholic Charities doesn’t believe that any illegal behavior is happening at the KWV but will be providing the KNA with the findings from their current investigation once complete. Update: Report has been released.
- Through defining the KWV as a “program,” a solution has been developed to ensure that Catholic Charities can exclude individuals from the KWV if it becomes necessary.
- Additional public funding is available to support the KWV. Catholic Charities has already allocated their public funding.
- We haven’t determined that any breaches of the Partnership Agreement have occurred, but what is clear is that more discussion about how the various aspects of the Partnership Agreement play out in practice is needed.
- While absolutely meetings its goal of transitioning residents of the KWV to permanent housing, the overall effectiveness of the KWV as a transitional shelter model, which is being conducted as a pilot project, is still being determined.
- Transition Projects still believes they will meet their funding goals to buy the land where the KWV resides from the City of Portland to develop a low-income housing project. This will be a significant area of discussion in the coming weeks.
As always, if you want to get involved, have questions, etc., feel free to contact us.