KPTV: Veterans share experiences living at transitional housing project year after its launch
Author: Sarah Hurwitz
Posted: November 12, 2019

To read or view the original story, visit KPTV.

It’s been more than a year since a transitional housing project opened for veterans in Clackamas.

Veterans Village is a partnership between Clackamas County, Portland State University’s School of Architecture and several other agencies.

On Veterans Day, FOX 12 checked back in to see how the project is going and how veterans who live there feel about the project.

FOX 12 spoke with Army veteran Alvin Wilson who’s been living at the site since February.

“It's peaceful, it's quiet,” Wilson said. “And everybody's friendly here.”

Not long ago, Wilson fell on hard times.

“We lost our home in North Bend so we moved to Portland and trying to find a place we couldn't find a place big enough for us so they went into a women's shelter and I went into a man's shelter,” Wilson said.

Veterans Village is designed to help veterans like Wilson by giving them a space to live, with the goal to get them into permanent housing.

They live in individual shelters with access to a communal kitchen, living room as well as showers and bathrooms.

After running for more than a year, PSU architecture students checked back in with veterans on Monday to get a sense of how the project is going now.

“One of the things we're going to examine today is understanding the porch to inside ratio which sound really small in the whole scheme of things but when you're only living in 96 square feet we want to maximize that space as much as we can so we'll be talking to residents to understand if they would like more outdoor space, more indoor space,” Senior PSU architecture student, Matthew Carr said.

It’s much more than just building logistics, Carr says it’s figuring out how the space is creating community.

“We view this as a way to coalesce a large amount of community together to re-forage a sense of being and wellbeing,” Carr said.

Veterans who live there, like Wilson and his friend Air Force veteran Kerry Berglin says it’s more than just a roof over their heads, it’s family.

“The people that are here are you know they're really good,” Berglin said. “Like Alvin is my best friend. I'm happy I'm here. My next step to find an apartment I have nothing but good things to say about this place.”

But as the program’s designed, there’s some good news for Wilson.

He’s moving Tuesday which is a bittersweet goodbye.

“I'm excited to move but I'm going to miss everybody,” Wilson said. “I'll be back, I'll be back to visit.”