PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon's college students are experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity at all-time highs. Portland State University teamed up with The First United Methodist Church (FUMC) of Portland to find a solution for its students.
PSU students experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness now have a place to stay at The Landing. The temporary shelter, run out of FUMC opened this fall.
The Landing includes eight pods, each with a table, a cot and a place for personal belongings. The shelter also has showers, wi-fi, laundry and a pantry.
"We hope that they can come and receive some respite from the experience of being housing insecure," said Liz Temple, an administrator with the church "It's really difficult to be a student, it's really difficult to be housing insecure or houseless and it's extremely difficult to be both."
Portland State refers students to the shelter. So far five students are using the facilities, including Stevie Stevenson.
Stevenson was without a permanent place to live after leaving an unsafe situation with a roommate before the fall term at PSU.
"I thought I was going to have to give that up, I thought 'Oh, withdraw, how am I going to go to school when I don’t have a place to stay,'" said Stevenson.
But with the help of Portland State she found a place to stay at one of the pods at The Landing. "It’s awesome and I’ve made my little spot cozy," said Stevenson "It really helps me focus on my daily life because I know when I come back I can take a shower, get in my PJs and settle."
A PSU report from the fall of 2019 showed about 16% of students experienced homelessness within a year, while more than 44%, like Stevenson, faced housing insecurity. "I just really hope that people get to know that this is here, because it’s nice, it’s peaceful, it’s quiet," she said.
Stevenson hopes her stay at the pod will be a path to stable housing as she works through programs at PSU to find an affordable solution.