Denver's First Tiny Home Village
Colorado Village Collaborative (CVC) is proud to launch Denver’s first tiny home village! After years of hard work, it's finally happening.
Our city faces an extreme lack of affordable housing and a shelter system unable to accommodate the number and needs of people on the street. In response, many housing advocates, developers, and people from the homeless community are convinced that a new model of rapidly buildable housing designed around community, dignity, and self-determination is a moral imperative for our region.
Beloved Community Village will provide 11 homes, a common meeting and kitchen space, community gardens, showers and restrooms for up to 22 people. Our location for the first six months at 3733 Walnut was generously provided by the Urban Land Conservancy and will help establish proof-of-concept for tiny homes as one more solution to homelessness.
As seen on/in:
Denver Post --> https://goo.gl/Wkmmlv
Westword Magazine --> https://goo.gl/5rZfdg
Denverite --> https://goo.gl/sCZgpG
CBS Denver --> https://goo.gl/quND5Q
9news --> https://goo.gl/2xdlVf
Denver Voice --> https://goo.gl/ZefpZH
Why do we need a tiny home village?
In January 2016, 5467 individuals were counted homeless on one night in the Denver Metro area. This number always falls short, since not everyone can be reached on the "count day." Each year, tens of thousands move in and out of homelessness in our city.
The shelter system does its best, but there are fewer spaces than demand and 60% of "beds" are thin plastic mats on the floor. The system is ill-equipped to meet the needs of many groups including:
- people with pets and service animals
- those with disabilities
- people who work odd hours
- the LGBTQ community
Housing prices are at an all-time high. Constructing large-scale affordable housing is essential. However, these developments cost millions, and take years to move from concept to completion. Finally, a high degree of failure in the “Housing First” approach is attributable to the lack of community designed into the model.
Who is Colorado Village Collaborative (CVC) and what’s its story?
CVC is a new organization launched by some long-time advocates for homeless rights and housing. A coalition of service providers, advocates, foundations, business leaders, congregations, and people living on the streets began meeting in March of 2016. Convinced that Denver needed both better policy and creative new ideas, they called themselves the Alternative Solutions Advocacy Project (ASAP).
As their efforts to incubate Denver's first tiny home village gained traction, ASAP decided to launch a new organization to oversee the growth and multiplication of this work. Thus began the young but brilliant life of CVC.
CVC brings together multiple established organizations to help Beloved Community Village become a success. Our partners on this project are:
- Bayaud Enterprises: resource navigation
- Beloved Community Mennonite Church: congregation
sponsor, project design support, food/community
- Denver Homeless Out Loud: project management,
resident selection, village governance support
- The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado: project
management, and fiscal sponsor for CVC
- Mennonite Disaster Services: construction
- Radian Inc.: architectural design, zoning consultant
- Urban Land Conservancy: property owner
Do residents receive any services or support?
Definitely! But they aren't forced into any program. Villagers get to opt into whatever services they choose to help them toward the next step of growth and development.
Bayaud Enterprises will send a Resource Navigator to the village regularly who will walk alongside residents to get the help they need. Areas of support include:
- food & clothing
- mobile laundry truck
- physical and mental health
Villagers will also get to participate in gardening and other community projects.
Finally, for successful villagers who wish to transition into permanent housing, $1000 in rental assistance will be provided.
How does this “self-governance” thing work?
While we are raising funds to build the houses and infrastructure, the village is so much more. What makes this project truly unique is that is it not a shelter, nor a "program," but a self-managed, self-governed community.
Day-to-day life at Beloved Community Village will be run by the villagers themselves. Together, the residents of the homes make up the Village Council. The weekly Village Council meeting is where conflicts will be addressed, potential new residents interviewed, chores divided up, and much more.
A few of the villagers, chosen by resident vote, will also be part of the Advisory Council -- a group that includes representatives from supporting organizations, long-term stakeholders, and residents of the neighborhood in which the village is located. The Advisory Council's role is to support the needs of the Village Council, maintain legal and infrastructure documents, facilitate fundraising efforts, perform logistical assitance, and much more.
Together, the Advisory Council and the Village Council keep the fire of community lit and steward the project into its bright future!
(credits: Radian, Inc.)
Who is going to live there?
We are happy to share that the homes have already found their future residents. The founding villagers of Beloved Community are all on board, all exited, and all are engaged in the building of the project.
In Febuary of this year, the organizers realized they needed the Village Council in order to move forward with the project. It was time to engage the community who this exists for. An informational event was held and people formally interviewed for a spot in a tiny home. A transitional group of long-term stakeholders from Denver Homeless Out Loud did the intial interviews, and chose only 6 people at first. We chose these initial folks based on the list above -- those who can't use the shelters and are currently living on the streets. We also kept in mind that the founding residents need the capacity to live well in community, participate constructively in the weekly meetings, and chip in on village chores.
From then on, the resident selection was handed off to the newly formed Village Council. These 6 founding residents held another round of interviews and filled out the rest of the available openings. There are now 14 members of the Village Council who are meeting weekly to bring the village to fruition.
With immense respect for their privacy and process, we won't say more! But stay tuned for the huge opening day party, and maybe you'll get to meet them ;)
What happens after six months?
The permitting path Denver's planning department presented to us only allow us to do this kind of thing for six months at any one location. (BTW - let your city council person and mayor know you want this changed!)
But don't worry! All the houses are portable, no one will be kicked out, and we will relocated to a new home when the time comes.
Do you have bigger plans?
You better believe it. Our goal is to have 3 villages up-and-running for the winter of 2017-2018.
By 2020, we want that number up to 10.
And with your help, there's no stopping us.
Still hungry for more details??
Check out our website.
Oh yeah, and there's rewards!!!
Donate to this campaign and you'll get...
$10 - Thank You Note
$50 - Sticker: “House Keys not Handcuffs”
$250 - Framed Tiny Home Architectural Drawing
$500 - Original Art from Residents
$1000 - Name on Donor Wall
$7000 - Name Plaque on Tiny Home
All donations are tax deductible.
Thank you for your support!
Hundreds of incredible people are living outside tonight. The places for a person experiencing homelessness to feel like a human being, experience dignity, and find genuine empowerment are few and far between.
Beloved Community Village will be one of those places, but we can't do it without YOU!
If you haven't heard already - Beloved Community Village opened it's doors and handed out house keys to fourteen people on July 21st.
We are overjoyed to have completed these homes and have been celebrating with the villagers. The newfound stability, dignity, and community has been a breath of fresh air as they settled into their homes.
Now - it's time to party! The villagers put together the invitation below, inviting you to enjoy their hospitality at an Open House Neighborhood Celebration on Aug 14 from 12-4. We hope you can join us!
This is just the first of many villages we plan to build in over the next few years. So please stay in touch through our Facebook page:
We could not be more grateful to each of you who supported this campaign and helped us build Denver's First tiny home village. It's truly taken a "village to build a village."
Also, if you have not already received your thank you gift in the mail, we will be in touch with you soon!
Since announcing the $20,000 matching grant from the Barton Institute, we received a $10,000 grant from the Gates Foundation (not Bill & Malinda) and FROM YOU ALL, raised another $1,372.
That leaves another $8,628 we can still match, dollar for dollar.
Thank you all so much for the support, and help us cross the finish line!
Thank you to everyone who has supported the dream of a dignified, self-governed village for homeless people in Denver. Construction of the Beloved Community Village began on May 20. After almost two weeks, 11 beautiful tiny houses and a shower house have quickly taken shape with the help of over a hundred volunteers providing over 2000 hours of work. This has truly been a community driven project.
Today, we are excited to announce that the Barton Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise at the University of Denver has offered a $20,000 challenge grant to help provide the final leg of funding to get Beloved Community Village up and running (Press Release: http://bit.ly/2rXxGEV).
We’re not done yet, but with your support, look at what we have accomplished so far:
Received a first-of-its kind zoning permit for tiny home villages,
Secured all building permits,
Received support from multiple City Council members, including Councilwoman Robin Kneich (read the full statement here: http://bit.ly/2qZOw1K).
Raised $107K, thanks to the $20K grant from the Barton Institute in addition to the challenge grant,
Tens of thousands dollars have been donated in labor, materials & hours of support from over 100 community volunteers.
This project is turning into reality, but we still need your support! Thanks to DU's challenge grant, every dollar donated will be doubled up to $20,000!
Click the link to donate today: http://bit.ly/2sazslP
Thank you for all your support, and please help us match our grant!
The Tiny Home Blues fundraiser went great, and brought in an additional $6700!
We'd also like to extend a huge thank you to the Denver Catholic Worker who voted last night to give us $7500 (the cost of one house) out of their own pockets.
Adding up all the gifts from the past three and a half weeks, we've received more than $47,000 from more than 300 sources -- none of which is from a foundation or government.
Tomorrow morning is our big donor breakfast for foundations, business leaders, and other high dollar donors. Wish us luck and say a prayer if that's your thing.
If you've seen this a few times, but haven't given yet -- could it be time? If you have some friends, family or associates who might consider giving -- could you ask them? If you could share our page -- would you do so one more time?
As always, thank you for helping build the Beloved Community Village.