Austin’s Tiny Home Community for the Chronically Homeless
The Community First! village was started in an effort to provide housing, stability, and opportunity for the chronically homeless in Austin. The first rule is, they must pay rent! Micro work opportunities are offered on the property in the form of a blacksmith workshop, art studio, community garden, artisan merchant shop, mechanic garage, barber salon, and more!
Community First! Village is a place that enables our homeless brothers and sisters to heal. It’s a place where they can rediscover hope, renew their purpose and restore their dignity. Most importantly, it’s a place they can call home.
People who have spent years or even decades sleeping in the elements on the streets of Austin now have a roof over their head, a refrigerator, crock pot and microwaves in their home, and access to fresh grown veggies and eggs. The bathrooms and kitchens are community style, to cut down on plumbing and fire risk, and also to encourage the often depressed and overwhelmed new residents to be social and engage with their neighbors.
A few residents have already passed away since the community was formed in 2015, and they have a memorial set up next to the community garden and playground so neighbors can pay their respects. The garden is producing year round, and residents have the opportunity the get their hands dirty by working in the garden if they so choose. There are also goats on site, and the milk is used to create goods like soap that are sold in their merchant shop on site.
During our interview we learned that last year over $450,000 in revenue was earned by the efforts of the formerly homeless residents working in their trade of interest. The property is truly unique and seems very well established, despite being such a young community.
More from the Homestead Guru: Seattle’s Tiny House Village for the Homeless
The 51 acre property has been half developed, and can house up to 250 residents with around 200 currently on site. They are expanding the remaining acreage to accommodate up to 300 people, including a 100 person hospice facility so the chronically homeless can die with dignity.
I have traveled North America and Italy visiting intentional communities and I can truly say this place is ONE OF A KIND! I have never seen such a unique concept developed so quickly and efficiently. What an honor it was to witness their journey and document their beautiful community. I feel like every major city needs a Community First! village.