THE “BELOVED COMMUNITY VILLAGE” IS MOVING TO TAXIS CAMPUS
Beloved Community Village, first homeless community in Denver was created in July 2017. From that time until now, this town has been at two different locations in the Northwest of the city. At the beginning of 2019, the community will be installed on the lots of the Taxis Campus, west of Platte River. At this new location, the village will have larger community areas that will include a community dining room, living room and three rooms for the resident’s personal hygiene.
This village is formed by 11 homes that are 8 feet wide x 11 feet long. Every home is designed for one person. However, residents are allowed to share their residence with a significant other. These homes only have electricity. Bathrooms are located at the common area. “With this design, we achieved a significant decrease in construction costs,” said Cole Chandler, spokesman for the Colorado Village Collaborative (CVC).
Chandler revealed that the cost to build each home is 25 thousand dollars. This amount represents 10 percent of the cost of a home that is built with subsidies, or an “affordable home”, and 6 percent of the cost of a regular home in Denver. This community organizer explains that “the project seeks to provide a safe place for the homeless of the city, and at the same time, we hope that the underprivileged will not be criminalized.”
Community with rules
According to an estimate from January 2018, any given night, there are 5,317 people sleeping on the streets. “Our vision is to manage a dozen mini-home villages that can provide protection to more than a hundred homeless people in Denver,” Chandler said. The representative of CVC insists in keeping the villages small. “Building on an industrial scale, creating giant buildings, will only cause problems in the neighborhoods,” Chandler said.
The governance system of the “Beloved Community Village” is another aspect that CVC wants to reproduce in future developments. “Residents of the village do not have to pay any rent but they must comply with the rules that the community establishes. Weapons and violence are prohibited. You cannot use drugs. Discrimination of any kind is not allowed and there is an obligation to provide some service to the community, “said Chandler. He added that residents are not required to submit a background check or a mental health evaluation.
A village for women
These same rules will be used to establish a second tiny home community. For the first quarter of 2019, CVC is planning to open an 8-home village at the Globeville neighborhood. This home will be for homeless women and transgender individuals. Construction will start at the beginning of the year and will last two months. According to Chandler, the work will be performed by a contractor, but he estimates there will use 6 thousand hours of volunteer work to complete the project.
The tiny home community is an initiative of non-profit Colorado Collaborative (CVC). The funds CVC raises come from private sources. Denver Community Planning and Development have helped with construction permits to make the construction and use of the homes possible.