President, Hampton Lumber Sales
Hampton Lumber manufactures and distributes lumber and building materials throughout North America. Recognizing that our company has a fundamental connection with providing shelter, we do not need to look further than our own community. Here in the Pacific Northwest we are challenged by a lack of affordable housing in both rural and urban communities. The homeless crisis in the metro area is a vexing issue, without an easy solution.
Solving regional, or even local housing issues, is certainly beyond the abilities of a single company. However, I’m pleased to say that there are times and opportunities when we, as a producer and distributor of building materials, can help move the needle. Dignity Village is one such example.
Dignity Village is a city-recognized community in Northeast Portland that provides transitional housing to the local homeless population. What started as a gutsy community experiment in 2001, now welcomes 60 people every night, with eyes on expansion. Dignity Village is self-governed and community members who adhere to basic rules receive access to services like showers and sanitary facilities, emergency transportation, communal cooking facilities, weekly community meetings, access to education and counseling, and community gardens, among others.
While the living structures at Dignity Village initially consisted of tents and light wooden shacks, a donation of Hampton framing lumber–locally grown and manufactured–is being used to provide more sturdy and comfortable dwellings for residents. To date, our lumber has been used to construct five tiny houses (8’ x 14’) on the property. Other local organizations like Portland Youth Builders, Oregon Tradeswomen and Constructing Hope have all pitched in to build the homes. Further, a sixth house is slated to be built this year by residents at Dignity Village. All of the homes come designed with solar panels and wired for heat and lighting.
Dignity Village is a great example of how transitional housing can enable self-sufficiency and empowerment within our community. It’s also a powerful example of what can be achieved when people come together to support others. I am proud to support such a dynamic and inclusive organization, and look forward to sharing more updates in the near future.