There are currently over 25,000 people experiencing homelessness right now in the state of Texas. Over 3,000 of these people experience chronic homelessness, meaning they consistently have nowhere to sleep each night, sometimes for years at a time. In San Antonio, many of these people are seniors – over 50 years old.
But organization Housing First Communitas has recently raised $2 million in funds, and they have a creative solution for the issue. Using the ‘housing first’ model that believes people experiencing homelessness require a base and roof over their head before addressing other concerns like employment and addiction, HFCommunitas is housing 200 seniors in a community made up of tiny houses.
While tiny house builds make for good entertainment for many people, this concept is one that will be saving lives. A community called the Towne Twin Village will be made up of tiny houses, RVs, and small apartments, all consisting around 400 square feet or less.
“It will be a place where people are not looked upon as a burden or problem, but as valued humans who deserve the basic dignity and inclusion that all humans deserve,” they state on their website.
The idea is that this housing community will be one that is long term for the residents, giving them a space that allows them a place to be self-sufficient; a starting off point from which they can grow. The community will also be home to green spaces, a hospitality center, workshops, a chapel, and an amphitheater as well that results in a solid community.
The tiny town will be located on a previously vacant 17-acre plot that will become a large, thriving community. Not only will this provide a beautiful community in the area, but the land is used effectively and efficiently, with more houses than usual, reducing the overall cost. Additional benefits are that many more jobs will be created in construction of the village as the project moves forward. Providing supportive housing first may be costly in the beginning, but can reduce the amount spent on other public programs such as shelters, jails, and emergency services.
“Abundant, wrap-around, formal and informal supports are provided to ensure that one’s house becomes a home such that each resident feels valued, demonstrates self-efficacy, and is enabled to maintain a long-term lease.” HFCC also aims to provide support in employment, health care, and legal advice as the seniors begin their new lives. The housing will be prioritized based on factors such as age, disability, and duration of homelessness.
Similar models have already been created, with great success. In Austin, men and women previously experiencing chronic homelessness have joined the Community First! Village. The vision was more centered around a creation of community before the creation of the housing.
Resident Richard Devore told City Lab how tiny house community living changed his life: “Before I moved here, I honestly didn’t think my life would have anything other than being a homeless drug addict. If nothing changes in someone’s life, when the money runs out, they’re going right back to where they were.”
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Source: Good News Network