OPB's series on homelessness has looked at many aspects of street life, from homeless families, to single men who've lived outdoors for years.
But Oregon is conducting a unique social experiment for people who don't quite fit into the areas we've looked at so far.
It's called Dignity Village. It’s a collection of about 45 yurts in the corner of a leaf mulching yard in Portland.
Kristian Foden-Vencil spent a morning at Dignity Village to find out how 60 homeless people manage Dignity Village’s finances, to pay for things like electricity, rent and hazard insurance.
Kristian Foden-Vencil: "I'm standing on a berm right over looking Dignity Village and what you can see about 45 small sheds, is what I'd call them. Each one has a roof and is made out of wood, but some are pink, some are white, some are brown. They're made with all different kinds of clapboard, and shingles some metal roofs, some tarp on top of some. So it's a real mishmash, but each little shed stands well away from the other, so that there are lanes in between and it isn't a fire hazard."
Cindy Davis: "When I moved in here it was just a shell."
Cindy Davis a recovering meth addict. She's willing to give a tour of the home she shares with Randy Curl.
Cindy Davis: "I took half a waterbed and made a couch out of it. and then it also has the draws underneath. I just haven't got it organized.
Kristian Foden-Vencil: "You're a little bit of a pack rat."
Cindy Davis: "Yes I am, you should see my storage. I pay $120 a month to store my stuff."
Kristian Foden-Vencil: "Is it worth that?"
Cindy Davis: "Uh, yeah. I can't get rid of my stuff."
The couple has a generator that feeds a loan bulb. There's also propane for a gas heater and stove.
The ceiling is low, because they've installed a sleeping loft. But clothes and bric-a-brac lie everywhere. It's not tidy. But Davis and Curl say it's a heck of a lot better than living on the street.
Cindy Davis: "It's like a little home. And then up the stairs here is my bedroom and I've got my TV up there. It runs by a battery."
Kristian Foden-Vencil: "It runs on a battery, like a car battery."
Cindy Davis: "Yeah.
Kristian Foden-Vencil: "How much time do you get on it before it gives up?"
Cindy Davis: "Oh about a month."
Kristian: "How do you recharge it then?"
Cindy Davis: "I pay a dollar a charge to the treasurer so I can charge my battery."
It's tempting to say Davis's TV is symbolic of Dignity Village. It's jerry-rigged, it's unorthodox, but somehow it works.
Sixty people, who have problems ranging from mental illness to drug addictions, come together to raise the $2,000 that's needed each month to keep their community running.
Rent is the easiest. The city has zoned the land a "transitional campground." So Dignity Village formed a non-profit to manage that campground. And in return for its management, it gets free rent.
But there are other bills to pay, says the democratically-elected chair of Dignity Village, Randy Curl.
Randy Curl: "Figure close to $900 for port-a-potties. $600 for the garbage service. I've got the internet bill, the phone, water, which is $60-$100 and sewer."
To meet those bills, each resident pays $20 a month to stay in the village. They even have to pay insurance -- not for themselves, but in case a visitor gets hurt.
It all adds up. But residents here are nothing if not entrepreneurial. In fact, the nicest shed in the village is bright yellow and -- on wheels. It's a mobile hot dog stand.
Randy Curl: "We go to the Rose Festival, the Chocolate Festival, community festivals. We're also opening a permanent location over by Oaks Park, that we're opening up in a couple of days here. So we have two carts going."
Curl hopes the additional hot dog carts will boost profits.
Donations from the public provide another source of income.
Cherri Hunt: "Porcelain dolls, I've got glass stuff, knick-knacks, clothes, old books, old pictures, all the stuff that donators donate to us that we can't use."
Cherri Hunt is responsible for selling it all. She has a big white shed filled to the rafters.
Cherri Hunt: "During the summer it was like $2 or $3 each and we made oh about $5,000 for the summer."
Kristian Foden-Vencil: "And people would just drive by stop in, have a look around?"
Cherri Hunt: "I advertised on Craigslist. I advertised it everywhere where I could possibly advertise it. We took flyers out and we put signs up."
Hunt says her biggest headache is putting stuff on E-Bay.
Cherri Hunt: "You got 7 days you've got to wait. And you've got a rating where you have to please everybody, pack it out and get it out real fast."
Kristian Foden-Vencil: "Now if you have a skill like that, cataloging it, putting it up on the web. Could you not take those kinds of skills and go to an employer and say, give me a job?"
Cherri Hunt: "Sure, but I can't breath and I can't hardly walk."
Kristian Foden-Vencil: "You've got medical problems."
Cherri Hunt: "Major."
Hunt also sells donated and scavenged lumber to people who heat their homes with wood. And rather than cut up larger beams, Cindy Davis used them to start another micro-business.
Cindy Davis: "So we made raised beds out of them, which gave us more gardening space. More than likely a lot of these are going to be starter beds. So that I can take and transplant them into a four inch pot and then turn around and sell them this next summer and springtime."
Her plan is to rent a stall at the Portland Saturday Market at the cost of about $40 a day. Since she’ll be selling starter plants for $3 apiece, she's sure that she’ll make a profit -- money that'll all be plowed back into village coffers.
But not all the money coming into the village is from small businesses. With a roof over their heads and access to the local bus system, about half the residents have part-time jobs.
They also have to promise to work at least 10 hours a week for the community.
It's an impressive and unique system -- especially since it's managed by people who come and go for a variety of unpredictable reasons. But it has yet to be replicated elsewhere.
Wendy Kahn is a local filmmaker who has followed Dignity Village for eight years.
Wendy Kahn: "I still think that it can be done elsewhere. But I think the fact that Portland is a very progressive place, we happen to have a city council over the past decade that has been willing to let people try stuff. Basically the city council elected and the mayor elected to not put obstacles up for Dignity Village."
There are other tent cities around the country. But Kahn says, there are none that operate in such an autonomous and unique way.
Meanwhile, Randy Curl will step down as chairman in a couple of weeks, and a new leader will be elected.