(Please do not expect to be given a house, bed, or place to sleep right away. There is a waiting list for our tiny house structures and our overnight shelter is only open in the Winter)
Website Preview** of Dignity Village Terms of Access Manual & Admittance Agreement
(**Revised 3/3/2022 Ask VIC for most up-to-date version of the manual)
Dignity Village Program Entrance Agreement
The Village manual is the comprehensive list of rules & agreements for accessing our program. It is available to every villager in the Commons room and the Guard Shack. Please initial each item to acknowledge your understanding of the contents of the manual. Ask your Village Intake Committee (VIC) representative if you have any questions about these policy agreements before signing.
- Welcome to Dignity Village letter _______
- Village Intake Committee (VIC) Visitors & Day Use Guests _______
- Winter Shelter Agreement _______
- Dignity Village code of conduct _______
- 60 Day Guest Status Rules & Requirements _______
- Program noncompliance and Grievance procedure _______
- Pet policy _______
- Fire Safety _______
- Who do I talk to about _________? _______
- Structure upkeep and maintenance policy contract _______
- VIC Roommate/Couple Agreement _______
I verify that I have read every section of the Village manual and understand that it is my admittance agreement. I understand and agree to comply with and uphold all policies, agreements, and procedures contained in this manual. I furthermore understand that failing to do so may be deemed program noncompliance and result in me losing access to a structure and/or any other Dignity Village program features and/or result in exclusion from the premises entirely. This document must be signed in order to access Dignity Village structures or services or this property, in accordance with our site use contract with the City of Portland.
Medical Questionnaire for Envelope
Please answer all questions in full. This document will be confidentially kept on file in the Village in case of emergency (for EMTs, hospital staff, etc.). If any question makes you uncomfortable, you may leave it blank.
- Do you have any allergies? Please list:
- Please list medications you are prescribed:
- Please list ALL medications you are taking:
- Please list your Primary Care Physician (PCP):
- Please list all diagnoses that you are being treated for:
- Please list all your food allergies:
- Who do we contact in case of emergency?:
Terms of Access Manual
1. Welcome to Dignity Village
We are glad that you are here and want the time that you spend here to be as pleasant, comfortable, and productive as possible. This is a community based on love and respect for each other and ourselves. Therefore, we require proof of vaccination against COVID as a condition of accessing our program to ensure we are protecting one another’s health to the best of our ability. We will not tolerate disrespect based on religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin/immigration status, disability, age, lifestyle choices, criminal record, or socioeconomic status. That is Dignity.
We try as much as possible to keep rule enforcement flexible and considerate of context, preferring to trust that our fellow Villagers intend their best to use common sense and courtesy toward others. However, we have 5 basic rules** which we more strictly regard as fundamental to the survival and success of the Village:
- No violence to yourself or others
- No theft
- No public use of intoxicating substances allowed, except cannabis in designated area between the guard shack and computer lab. Responsible use of substances allowed inside personal structures. No inappropriate behavior in public spaces due to substance use. No pushing or sales allowed onsite.
- No constant disruptive behavior
- Everyone must contribute at least 10 hours per week to the operation and maintenance of the Village (unless show proof of school or work to obtain an exception).
**Must also pay the monthly program access fee to contribute toward Village expenses.
Although there are other policies/agreements/rules/procedures to follow, the 5 Basic Rules** are the most firmly enforced. Violations can swiftly result in a PERMANENT EXCLUSION from accessing Dignity Village.
Self-governance is the cornerstone of the Village Model. Each member has a vote and is responsible to participate. We are a membership based 501c3 nonprofit community organization providing a shelter program. The Village Council is elected by vote of the membership and responsible for 501c3 nonprofit operations, including election of the Board Officers. The Board Officers consist of the Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Membership may elect no less than 3 or more than 25 councillors to serve a 1 year term. Most decisions require a membership vote (including adoption of new rules) and decisions made by Council may be overturned by a membership vote (except an exclusion for violence). All villagers are solely responsible for attending meetings and requesting minutes to keep up on new rules. Democracy is a core value of Dignity Village.
Transparency is also a core value. Village Council, Membership, and various committee meetings are open to the public. However, people who have been excluded from the Village are not permitted. All villagers, members or not, are encouraged to attend, as the meetings are where new rules are voted on and announced. Again, all villagers are solely responsible for attending meetings and requesting minutes to keep up on new rules. During your first 60 days, all meetings are mandatory.
If direct participation in democracy, nonprofit operations, communal living, and Village maintenance do not interest you, Dignity Village may not be right for you. Although we would like you to give this model a chance, if this model doesn’t move you, please consider one of the many agency-managed, pod shelters in town. We have a waitlist and would prefer people who are excited to be a proactive part of the Village Model.
Dignity Village primarily functions through mutual aid and peer support. We rely on donors and villager efforts to acquire supplies. Dignity Village is not responsible or able to supply everything you may need to live here beyond access to a room, water, a dumpster, a shower, toilets, and a phone. If you have a need, you can ask your neighbor to share or put in a request with the Donations Coordinator and they will let you know if it comes in. Every Villager is responsible for collectively supplying the Village whatever way they can.
Donations coming into the Village go directly to the Donations Coordinator to be processed and fairly distributed. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, donations must be properly recorded and tax receipts issued BEFORE ANY items may be distributed. The Donations Coordinator must follow our equitable protocol for distribution: Members first, next residents, guests, and then outreach. When donors enter the Village, do not approach unless requested by Donations Coordinator or checking them in as Security. Do not solicit donations for personal use or otherwise harass donors. Our Donations Coordinator is responsible for ensuring a positive and comfortable experience for our donors.
Dignity Village has many amenities onsite, and a list of community expectations for access to them. Computers are provided in the office behind the Guard Shack. Food, drugs, pets, smoking, browsing pornography, or illegally dowloading copyrighted files, are not allowed in the computer room. Should you need help, request it from a Council officer. If others are waiting, your time is limited to 45 minutes, unless you are working on official Village business or some special arrangement or exception has been made. Be mindful of not opening emails from strangers or strange looking messages from your saved contacts. Leave the computer room cleaner than you found it. Violations of the rules may result in loss or restriction of access to computers and/or an incident report.
In the Guard Shack, a telephone and personal message board are provided. Phone and other messages are pinned to this board (meeting notices or other official Village business are posted in the Commons). Code of conduct for the Guard Shack as follows:
- Only the officially appointed mail deliverer or a board officer (Chair, Vice, Secretary, Treasurer) may touch the mail.
- While the phone is in use, no yelling, profanity, or otherwise inappropriate discussions are allowed in the vicinity. People may be making calls to family, children, jobs, courts, donors, etc.
- Phone calls are limited to 10 min unless for official Village business or by special arrangement.
- No leaving guard shack unattended if you are on shift (except doing rounds). Must wait until the next person shows (automatic 7 day out).
- No sleeping on guard shack duty (automatic 7 day out).
- Leave the Guard Shack cleaner than you found it.
Portable toilets are provided and serviced twice a week. Do not throw trash, other than toilet paper or paper seat covers, in toilets. Close the lid when you finish to prevent flies from spreading diseases in our food. Use trash containers for trash only, no biohazardous waste such as: needles, urine, feces, or vomit (needle disposal containers are available in the Guard Shack). If you miss the toilet or urinal, do not leave your mess for others to clean up. Disinfectants, bleach, and a hose are available from the Housekeeping Coordinator, if needed. Hand sanitizer is provided in the portable toilets and antibacterial hand soap at the sink. Please use them to prevent the spread of illness.
The shower and sink are located next to the portable toilets. Showers are strictly limited to 30 min because there is only 1 shower for 60+ people to share. The water is heated by individual propane tanks, you must provide your own or borrow a propane tank. Day guests may use the shower between 10am to 10pm. Leave the shower in a tidy and sanitary manner after use.
Quiet hours are from 10pm to 10am**. Normal tone of voice or use of audio devices is accepted. However, no elevated voices or high volume is allowed during these hours. **Construction noise for official village projects may begin at 8am. 10pm to 10am there will be no sleeping or living allowed in the Commons Room. Repeated violations of Quiet Hours is considered a violation of Basic Rules #4 and may result in disciplinary action accordingly.
It is security’s responsibility to maintain the peace and safety of the Village. If a situation arises that requires intervention by security, DO NOT impede/obstruct or otherwise interfere unless security requests it. If an incident deteriorates to the point police must be called, stay behind the gate for your own safety. Only security and Board officers may deal with the police. Remain polite and compliant within your legal rights and protections. Respect security’s role in providing safety and police liaison services for the Village.
This is an introduction and subject to change by vote of Council/Membership); it is meant as an orientation guide for residency in Dignity Village. If you feel you cannot abide by these agreements and expectations, please consider if this is what you want to be a part of. If you have any questions, please find the VIC Chair or the Board Officers for the most accurate and up-to-date answers.
Welcome to our radical experiment in collective self empowerment to end homelessness!
2. Village Intake Committee (VIC) Visitors & Day Use Guest Policy
If Day or Overnight Guests leave belongings here when they leave, we will bag and tag them and store them. We make no guarantees as to the quality of the storage and take no responsibility for any damage. Dignity Village is not responsible for storing belongings after 14 days. If space allows, we will try to store belongings for up to 30 days. At any time after 14 days, Dignity Village reserves the right to dispose of belongings.
If conditions are beyond your control (arrest, hospitalization, etc.), you may attempt to arrange a storage agreement with VIC via phone or mail. However, Dignity Village is not obligated to make a storage agreement. If by mail, address letters to “VIC” and the “Secretary of Dignity Village”.
- All guests/visitors are subject to review by the Village Intake Committee.
- Members are responsible for ensuring visitors are aware of all Dignity Village agreements and code of conduct.
- All visitors/guests must follow all Dignity Village agreements and code of conduct.
- No public use of intoxicating substances allowed, except cannabis in designated area between the guard shack and the computer lab. No inappropriate behavior in public spaces due to substance use. No pushing or sales allowed onsite.
- The purpose of the Guard Shack is to meet and greet visitors/guests.
- All visitors/guests must get the security person on shift to log them in and out. Sometimes security do rounds, wait until they return or ask another Villager to log in/out.
- Visitors/guests are permitted on the premises between 8am and 10pm.
- Visitors for a villager must be escorted by security to the Commons room. Security will then get the villager. For safety reasons (domestic violence, stalking, vendettas, etc.), security must not escort a visitor directly to a villager’s structure.
- Outside the Common Area, visitors must be escorted at all times. Only a member may escort a visitor outside the Common Area. Exception is made when actively doing work for the Village.
- All visitors for tours, meetings, etc. must be escorted in by security. Security is responsible for locating a tour guide or person/s with which they are there to meet.
- For safety, all visitors/guests are required to wear shoes at all times.
- Only Members in good standing may have overnight guests
- Overnight guests must make sure they are logged in the Visitor Log and the 24 hr Guest List
- Guests are allowed to stay overnight a maximum of 3 nights within a 30 day period, not on a month to month basis, or a maximum of 14 nights if the visitor has traveled more than 50 miles to visit.
- Residents who do not have Member status, may NOT have overnight guests.
- Member will escort their guest at all times throughout the Village. Exceptions are walking directly to and from the portable toilets or shower.
- No minors under 18 are allowed overnight unless their legal guardian/parent is a member who has legal right to visitations and has passed a background check. Minors may not be left alone. Another resident may babysit, so long as they have passed a background check.
Visitor Parking in the Parking Lot
- Parking priority goes to residents. Visitors may park in the parking lot unless a resident needs the spot. Visitors must be present and available to move their vehicle or be subject to tow and associated fees.
- Visitors’ vehicles may NOT be parked overnight and must be out of the Parking Lot by 10pm.
- Campers outside the Village may not park in the Lot at any time.
In accordance with Criteria for Exclusion from Premises (850.00), Dignity Village reserves the right to direct any person to leave and bar them from returning to the premises for program noncompliance AND/OR the following reasons:
- Making unreasonable noise.
- Engaging in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior.
- Substantially interfering with any right, comfort, or convenience of any villager or employee of the premises.
- Engaging in any activity that constitutes a criminal offense.
- Damaging, defacing, or destroying any property belonging to Dignity Village or a villager or employee.
- Littering on premises.
- Driving in a careless or reckless manner.
- Consuming or possessing an open container of any alcoholic beverage in the common areas.
- Violating the City’s curfew ordinances.
Any person who fails to leave the premises after being directed to do so, or who returns to the premises after being given such direction, will be subject to arrest and prosecution for Criminal Trespass under ORS 164.245.
3. Winter Shelter Agreement
- Admittance to the Winter Shelter is dependent upon availability of beds and/or weather advisory status.
- Permission to stay the night requires approval from 3 Village Intake Committee (VIC) members. Any more nights (not to exceed 3 nights at a time) require written approval from 3 VIC members each night.
- Winter Shelter guests must follow the 5 Basic Rules. Any infraction will result in immediate expulsion and removal from the waiting list.
- Winter Shelter guests must pack up by 8am, leaving their sleeping area clean and tidy. Any items left out may be thrown away by housekeeping
- Shelter guests must make sure they are logged in correctly at the Guard Shack.
- Overnight and day guests must put in 1 hour of sweat equity work per day used (5 hours per week to get/stay on the waitlist).
- Shelter guests must treat residents/members with respect. Remember, you are a guest in our home; please behave accordingly. Likewise, village members will treat you with respect as our guest. Shelter guests failing to abide by the contents of this agreement will result in VIC voting to exclude them from the premises and/or remove them from the waitlist.
Questions about rules should be directed to VIC members or Board Officers ONLY. Anyone else may likely give you incorrect or expired information.
4. Dignity Village Code Of Conduct Basics
(applies to all of Sunderland Ave, stop sign to stop sign)
- No person shall threaten another person or engage in conduct that subjects a person to alarm, including but not limited to abusive or threatening language or gestures.
- No person shall vandalize, damage, or destroy any City property, including offensive littering (ORS 164.805).
- No person shall possess any weapon or similar instrument, unless permitted by Oregon law.
- No person on the premises shall engage in criminal behavior as defined by the State of Oregon or City of Portland.
- No public use of intoxicating substances allowed, except cannabis in designated area between the guard shack and the computer lab. Responsible use of substances allowed inside personal structures. No inappropriate behavior in public spaces due to substance use. No pushing or sales allowed onsite.
- Minors may not reside in Dignity Village. Minors may enter as part of a volunteer group, part of a tour, or as visitors with their legal guardian/parent who is a Member in good standing for 90 days, has passed a background check, and has legal visitation rights. Minors visiting a legal guardian/parent must not be left alone, unless accompanied by a caregiver who has passed a background check.
While these are the most important and most strictly enforced rules, additional rules/policies/protocols apply and are subject to change at any time by vote of the Membership. All villagers are responsible for attending meetings and requesting minutes to keep up on new rules and amendments. Although the Council may be flexible and understanding, ignorance of the rules does not automatically entitle a person to being exempt from consequences.
5. 60 Day Guest Status Rules & Requirements
As a 60 day guest, you must abide by the following rules until you become a member.
- Unless you are actively working on the Village, YOU MUST BE ESCORTED outside of the Common Area (see map on the front of the Commons Room). You are not allowed to escort anyone until you become a member.
- Unless you have a late work shift or class, you must be in the gates by 10pm. If you plan to be out overnight or are too late for gate close, you must speak to a VIC member and be able to recall who you spoke to. DO NOT just leave a message.
- If you are gone for 72 hours and have not checked in with a VIC member we will consider your place abandoned. VIC and security will bag and tag your belongings. You will no longer reside at Dignity Village. Your belongings will be held no longer than 10 days.
- As a 60 day guest, you are not allowed any visitors inside your structure. If you have visitors, they must stay in the Common Area only.
- You may not have overnight guests until you are a member.
- 60 day guests need to become acquainted with the operations of the Village. Therefore, you must attend our weekly Council (Wed evenings) and Membership (1st & 3rd Tues evenings) meetings in the Commons Room. You may miss them if you have proof of a work shift or class scheduling conflict.
6. Program Noncompliance & Grievance Procedure
- Write the Incident Report (IR) accurately as to the nature of the offence and legibly in print. Offence must have taken place within 30 days of discovery. Turn in to the Security Coordinators.
- Security Coordinators will present the IR to Council for adjudication.
- Security Coordinators must inform the Parties named in the IR no later than 24 hours before the Council Meeting at which it will be presented. If a person wants a copy of the IR for themself, they must request one. In cases of imminent threat to the Village, Council may call an emergency meeting. Decisions made in emergency meetings may be appealed after a 24 hour cooling off period.
- Council would ask that both parties be present. Council will work with issues like legitimate illness or work schedules. However, the Council reserves the right to proceed if ample notification and accommodation has been provided and a party has chosen not to attend.
- The IR will be read into the record at the next Council meeting (People who struggle with public speaking may request another Villager present their case). Council will serve as a panel of judges and jury (imagine it similar to a court proceeding). Council will listen to testimony from and question both parties, as well as any witnesses brought forth. Both parties shall have protected time to present evidence, make a clear case (avoid irrelevant details or hearsay), and connect complaints directly to Village rules/policies/protocols violation. Evidence that is not directly witnessed will be regarded as hearsay. Both parties are expected to behave in a calm, mature, and respectful manner. Interrupting the other party’s protected time or otherwise disrupting the adjudication process could result in being ejected from the proceeding. The Chair will be responsible for facilitating and keeping order to the process/proceeding.
- Council will make a fair decision based solely on the relevant evidence and case presentations. Council may consider the context of the case when determining the severity of consequences. The fairness of this decision may be tested at a Membership meeting and annulled by a vote of the Membership. Membership will then decide on an alternative solution.
7. Pet Policy
1) ALL PETS must be spayed/neutered & vaccinated before they will be allowed to reside in the Village. Documented proof must be provided to the Pet Coordinator *NO EXCEPTIONS*
2) Dogs must be in the presence of the owner or a caregiver at all times unless inside a structure. No dog may be unattended in the Common Area.
3) Dogs must have a caregiver/babysitter if the owner will be out of the Village for more than 3 hours.
4) Dogs must be leashed at all times unless a membership vote has approved that dog to be allowed off leash *NO EXCEPTIONS*.
5) No more than one dog per structure. Exceptions made for certified service dogs with proof of certification provided to the Pet Coordinator.
6) All of your pet’s waste or messes must be cleaned up in a timely manner and disposed of properly.
7) No more than 15 dogs may reside in the Village.
8) Pet owners are required and responsible to ensure their pets are adequately fed and receiving vet care. We often get donations of pet food/supplies. However, there is no guarantee of this or knowledge of what might be donated. If a pet needs a certain type of food or supplies that is not by chance donated, the pet owner is responsible for acquiring it.
9) If a dog causes harm to a person or another pet that requires medical attention. That dog will be made to leave the Village within 24 hrs of the incident and not allowed back in. If the owner does not comply with removal, an Incident Report will be written for Program Non-Compliance in violation of the Pet Policy and taken to Council.
10) Copies of service certifications or any other records must be turned into the Pet Coordinator within 30 days. Exceptions: Proof of spay/neuter and vaccinations required prior to entry.
11) In severe weather (outdoor temperatures above 85 F or lower than 40 F), if a pet is locked in a structure for 3 or more hrs without a caregiver, the Pet Coordinator, a Board Officer, and a Security Coordinator will enter the structure to do a welfare check making sure the pet is safe and in good health.
12) If the Pet Coordinator feels any pet at Dignity Village is being abused or neglected (including medical neglect), one or more of the following will occur:
a) Owner will be given a verbal warning to correct the behavior.
b) An IR will be written and taken to Council.
c) Animal Control will be called and a formal report will be filed.
8. Fire Policies/Procedures
- If you see a fire, ring the bell and call the fire department. If you hear the food bell, leave your structure to check if it is a fire alarm.
- Turn off electrical devices and close windows/doors as you leave (without locking).
- If you know how, use fire extinguishers (posted outside every other structure, visible from fire lanes) and/or help injured people.
- Otherwise, exit the Village through the front gate, if possible. Assist people with ambulatory issues, if needed.
- Keep fire lanes open and clear for fire trucks as you exit.
- Make sure everyone is present or accounted for. For this purpose, do not reenter the Village until the fire is out and the Fire Department has given the okay.
Fire Policies (Required by the Portland Fire Chief & Fire Marshal):
- There must be an uncluttered 5’ space between houses and the fence line. For houses that are closer to the fence than 5’, the area must be kept completely clear.
- Villagers/Members must keep pathways between houses, stairs, ramp, and all walkways leading to structures clear 5’ wide. No items may be stored or placed outside of property lines at any time.
- All structures must have functional smoke alarms at all times.
- All heaters must be working properly. If not, Villagers/Members should request maintenance.
- Villagers/Members must not cook in their structures.
- Only (2) 5 gallon propane tanks are allowed per any structure, including the shower.
- All propane tanks are to be kept in milk crates at all times.
- Under no circumstances, are cords allowed to be run out of the shower room.
- Make sure all spent propane tanks get to the scrap yard.
- No items may be hung on or leaned against the fence for any reason.
9. Who Do I Talk to About _________?
VIC Hours or Questions:
- When in doubt, ask a VIC member. Anyone else will tell you the wrong answer.
- Get hours signed off by the Department Head for the task you did your hours in. If the Department Head is not around, only a board officer (Chair, Vice, Secretary, Treasurer) may sign off on your hours. Hours without appropriate signature do not count.
- All signed work hours should be turned in no later than Mon 10pm.
Council Board Officers:
Village Intake Committee (VIC):
10. Structure Upkeep and Maintenance Policy
- I will keep my structure clean. This means I will dispose of all trash and perishable items in a timely manner. I will not let it build up inside or outside of my structure. This rule is important to not attract rodents or other pests.
- If my structure is in need of any repairs, I will follow the correct protocols, notify the Building Coordinator, and make sure the repairs are done in a timely manner.
- Neither I, my guests, nor any pets will do damage to the structure, deliberate or not. I will be held responsible for any damage done to the structure.
- VIC, security, and council/board officers may enter my structure with written 72 hour notice to inspect the structure for compliance with these policies.
11. Village Intake Committee Roommate Agreement As a Roommate and/or as a Couple
- As long as you are a 60 day guest, if you are going to be gone even for one night, then you must call and talk to a VIC member, and make arrangements ahead of time. Otherwise you will be taken off the list for a structure, no exceptions.
- Your Sweat equity hours must be turned in no later than Sunday Night into the VIC BOX, while you are on 60 day guest status… Hours for those who turn them in late will not receive credit for hours, the only exception to this rule is if the Villager is disabled.
- Couples and or roommates can not sign off on one another’s hours. You must find another department head from the department you worked to sign off on your hours.
- If noticeably under the influence of an intoxicating substance at any time, you MUST stay in your structure. You are only allowed to go straight to the portable toilets and straight back to your structure. This means no public areas, like wandering around the village grounds (up and down the tarmac), in the commons, or any other public place in Dignity Village. If for any reason any individual Villager or 60 day guest does not comply with this rule, they will receive a 24hr out. There are no exceptions to this rule.
- A 60 day guest cannot have anyone over inside their structure, until that person becomes a member. This rule stays the same and does not change if the 60 day guest moves into a member’s structure as a roommate and/or couple. As long as you are on 60 day guest status, you are not allowed to be over at a member’s structure or dorm after 10pm, no exceptions.
- All 60 day guests must have an escort to and from a member’s Structure. A 60 day guest living in a member’s structure as a roommate and/or as a couple is only allowed to go to and from the portable toilets, and to and from the commons without an escort. Only exception to this rule is if the 60 day guest is working.
- Dignity Village DOES NOT TOLERATE and/or CONDONE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, or ANY VIOLENCE TOWARDS THEMSELVES OR OTHERS. As it states in our Dignity Village 5 Basic Rules, (#1. NO Violence towards Self or Others. NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule.) If broken, both parties (couples/Roommates) will automatically be asked to vacate into separate structures.