Part of the urban experience is coming in contact with those in all walks of life and in Portland, like most major cities, this involves acknowledging homelessness. Thousands have no stability when it comes to sleeping in a safe secure place with the shelters full and public resources exhausted. At BSA, we believe that many social problems we’re facing today can be solved by public/private partnerships and this project is one such example. It draws upon historical strategies when housing was much more flexible, fluid and communal. Boarding houses, rooming houses, lodging houses and flop houses were once common in cities. They provided a place where single people, day laborers, migrants, factory workers and seafarers could pay for a bed. There were shift-shared beds (which is still common practice in the navy), and hotel style rooms without bathrooms which offered more economical solutions to these working classes since they were offered by the night, week, month or season.

Jolene’s Second Cousin is 3,521 SF two-story mixed use building in the Montavilla neighborhood which provides a small retail space on NE Glisan street, and then 11 SRO (single room occupancy) sleeping units. Each of the sleeping units has a sink in the room, while the bathrooms, living area and kitchen are shared amenities. Each tenant will be placed by the Portland non-profit JOIN, which helps homeless people transition into permanent housing. This is part of a series of interventions, with each Jolene’s project gaining momentum for the next and rallying support for our most vulnerable communities.