A Compact and Communal Approach to Housing the Homeless
As we’ve seen here before, some of the most interesting and innovative projects involving small housing revolves around addressing the needs of the homeless. We can add Austin Texas’ based Mobile Loaves and Fishes and their “Community First! Village” to those innovative projects. When it is fully built out next year, the village will house “200 residents living in a retrofitted RV, microhome or canvas-sided cottage” according to CNN Money.
The community was initially conceived by its CEO Alan Graham who called the community a “RV park on steroids.” Everything on the 27 acre property is designed to foster a sense of community. From CNN:
It’s a village not only in name, but in function. The homes are essentially just bedrooms. The residents share everything else, from state of the art communal kitchens to laundry and bathroom facilities. There’s a dog park, volunteer nurses, a market, gardens, chickens and goats, a fish farm and an art gallery. The property even has an outdoor movie theater and a bed and breakfast.
Unlike some homeless communities, CFV does not require sobriety to live there. The only three community rules are that “residents must pay rent, obey the law and follow community rules.” As you may have deduced from their name, MLF is a Christian organization, though no religious affiliation is needed to live in the community.
Rents will range from $220 to $380 a month. Community members will have the opportunity to make some money from onsite “microbusinesses” such as the movie theater and the bed and breakfast, which will be open to the public. Internal sources of income are a good idea since the property is on the outskirts of Austin.
A photo posted by Mobile Loaves & Fishes (@mobileloaves) on
From what we can see, many of the existing housing structures are pretty interesting architecturally.
The “Housing First” model of combatting homelessness has gained a great deal of traction in the last several years. The belief–borne out in a number of places–is that when people have housing, they can better deal with the issues that might have lead to their situations. This is contrary to the model of expelling those issues before providing housing. CFV goes a bit further. As Graham put it, “Housing will never solve homelessness but community will.”