Homer Williams was on a business trip in San Antonio when he heard about a massive homeless shelter in that city. With three hours to spare before his plane took off, Williams visited Haven for Hope, a large homeless “campus” serving some 1,500 people on 37 acres. 

Haven for Hope acts as both a shelter for people in need of emergency housing, but also works to instill people with the life skills needed to stay off the streets. The organization said more than 2,000 people have “graduated” from the facility into stable housing since it opened in 2010.

“I don’t know why I walked into that place,” Williams told OPB.  “I just know that what I saw caught ahold of me.”

Now, Williams is proposing a smaller incarnation of a homeless “campus” for homeless Portlanders. The city of Portland has approved moving the project forward. Yet, it comes with much controversy — including suspicions that Williams will somehow profit from the proposal. He spoke with OPB’s John Sepulvado about the project.