As a centerpiece of Portland’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, Bud Clark Commons represents a new approach to providing dignified housing and comprehensive services to help those experiencing homelessness move toward stability and a permanent living arrangement. Funded through a combination of low income housing tax credits, urban renewal funding, and HUD stimulus dollars, the project sets a new standard for services by combining permanent supportive housing and temporary shelter with a community resource center. Located at the gateway to downtown adjacent to light rail, buses, and an historic train station, Bud Clark Commons achieves a balance between the rigorous programmatic requirements of a coalition lead by the municipal client, a progressive design approach, and sustainable building practices.
The mission of Bud Clark Commons is to provide a continuum of services and the architecture helps achieve this goal in the expression of both form and function: a walk-in day center with a public courtyard and access to services; a shelter accessed through a secure entrance with 90 transitional and temporary beds for men; and a separate and secure entrance to 130 studio apartments for single women or men seeking permanent housing. The architects approached the design with the attitude that addressing basic needs is not exclusive of design that dignifies the human condition. Every detail was crafted to balance design, cost, performance, and durability.