According to the Denver Post, the Beloved Community Village has become "A model project for a housing first solution to homelessness in the Mile High City."
The application for a temporary Tiny Home Village for Women in the Clements Historic District, to be housed on land owned by St Andrew's Episcopal Church, was denied on July 10 by Denver's Landmark Preservation Commission, stating a lack of historic precedent for similar structures within the district.
St. Andrew’s, the Colorado Village Collaborative, Radian, Inc., and our partners remain committed to completing this project on an alternative site. Interest and enthusiasm for the village continues to grow. To date, we have raised significant funds toward this project from national and local foundations, community fund raisers, individual donors and numerous churches and other non-profit entities. While the Landmark Commission’s decision is a disappointment, it will not derail this crucial project.
Importantly, the efforts to finalize a new site coincide with the release of an evaluation from the Barton Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise and the Burnes Center on Poverty and Homelessness at the University of Denver. This report studied the impacts of the first nine months of operations of the Beloved Community Village and concluded that the village was a success. The highlights of this study indicate that people who were previously underserved are housed; those people are more stable than they were before; and the village had no negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhood.
This timely study demonstrates that Tiny Home Villages make good neighbors, just as the Women’s Village enters into the process of finalizing plans for a new site where it hopes to receive the welcome and hospitality of the neighborhood that it will call home.
These homes are crucial, and they will be built. Let’s be neighbors!
On Thursday, April 26, Housing Colorado honored the Beloved Community Village with an Eagle Award. This was the third major award given to the project since the village opened on July 21, 2017.
According to Housing Colorado's website, "The Eagle Awards were established in 1990, and have come to represent one of the highest achievements within the Colorado housing community. These prestigious awards celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments and outstanding leadership in housing and support services. The awards honor the individuals and collaborative projects that soar to new heights in their work to ensure safe, decent, affordable housing for all Coloradans."
Debra Bustos from the Urban Land Conservancy, and Tim Reinen from Radian/ Placematters joined CVC organizer, Cole Chandler, on stage to receive the award. To a room filled with more than 250 affordable housing advocates, Chandler gave the following remarks:
"Building Denver’s first tiny home village was a crazy process!
"This process took years of advocacy and organizing by people living on the streets who had a dream of a safe, dignified place to sleep.
"This process took strong partners like ULC, Radian, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, Denver Homeless Out Loud, Beloved Community Mennonite Church, and Bayaud Enterprises coming together to bring the vision that emerged from the streets to reality.
"It was a crazy process all along, but nothing was crazier than the day that our final and arguably most important partner came on board -- the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.
"It was the day we were supposed to submit plans for our building permits to the Community Planning Department, and we still didn’t have a General Contractor on board. So we called a meeting, and we invited the only two contractors we knew… a retired, “Bob the Builder” type from my church, and one of the 5 largest construction companies in the country, Whiting-Turner…
"There we were in the boardroom at Denver Homeless Out Loud. There were about 30 of us in all, half of whom were homeless, another half were long term advocates of the project. We laid out the story of everything that had happened to that point to bring us to that day and said… “We’re going down to the permitting office in two hours, and we need a contractor.” And for some crazy reason, Mark Faul, the Vice President from Whiting-Turner, spoke up and said, “We’re in.”
"That was April, 21 2017.
"By May 20, 2017 we had permits in hand and 120 volunteers on site to build a village.
"On July 21, 2017 after organizing 6,000 hours of volunteer service in 2 months time, 14 people who woke up on the streets reached out and grabbed keys to their very own homes.
"We’re standing here because of the efforts of a community. A community that covered every sector of this city. Every race, creed, class, gender preference, and sexual orientation.
"We emphasize that community brought us here, because community is counterintuitive for the American psyche. The American spirit is built upon the myth of the rugged individual. We love the idea of individualism in this country. Even our housing justice work focuses on individual success stories, individual outcomes, individuals reclaiming their self-sufficiency.
"This approach will not solve our housing crisis.
"We can’t get out of this crisis on our own.
"To move beyond this crisis, we must move beyond the illusion of independence, and begin to see our interdependence.
"We must begin to understand that we are all family. That the women and men sleeping in our sidewalks and alleyways are not strangers to be feared; they are instead our mothers and fathers, our sisters and brothers. We are all family.
"That’s what the Beloved Community Village represents. The Beloved Community Village represents the idea that we belong to one another, and that if we turn towards one another with the kind of care and compassion that builds a strong family, we can work our way out of this present crisis.
"So let us turn towards one another to design projects, programs, tax plans, and policy as family. Thank you!"
"Applications for a six-month permit have been submitted to the city, however, there's still more work to be done since the church is located in Clements Historic Neighborhood. The group is getting ready for a hearing by city's Landmark Preservation Commission which will be reviewing the project. The commission's job is to "designate, preserve, enhance, and perpetuate structures or districts that have architectural, historical, or geographical significance within the city of Denver," according to the city's website."
The tiny home experiment may soon expand in Denver.
The Colorado Village Collaborative plans to build second a village of small houses on parking lots around St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
“All along, we’ve said that the Beloved Community Village was not a one-off project. Our goal was to launch a network of villages across the metro area,” said organizer Cole Chandler.
” … We hope this is the second of many.”
"So far, it’s working. In its first five months, the self-governed village has had precisely zero visits from police, according to city records. The only person who has left now lives in permanent housing. Most of its residents are employed. And its organizers are preparing a second village, part of a network that they hope could one day house hundreds of people in Denver."
Tiny home village in Denver’s RiNo Art District. (credit: CBS)
DENVER (CBS4) – Life in a goldfish bowl has officially ended for residents at the Beloved Community Village in Denver’s RiNO neighborhood.
The crowd-funded tiny homes house formerly homeless residents hoping to start new lives.
Many residents complained about lack of privacy- specifically outsiders, peering through the chain link fence surrounding the village.
Now, the RiNo Art District has come up with a creative solution. A new privacy fence was installed that serves as both an artistic expression, and a buffer to protect residents from the outside world.
Swaths of color have added peace of mind to residents of Denver’s tiny home village.
Built by the Colorado Village Collaborative — a coalition of organizations including the Beloved Community Mennonite Church, ASAP, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, Bayaud Enterprises and Denver Homeless Out Loud, as well as individual members — the Beloved Community Village had to raise around $265,000 to complete the project, according to organizer Cole Chandler. As the group was on the edge of reaching that goal, ASAP principal member Kayvan Khalatbari contacted LivWell about a possible donation.
This morning, representatives from the Beloved Community tiny home village signed papers making the RiNo site officially open for occupancy. After two months building the units — and a communal bathhouse — at 38th and Walnut Streets, formerly homeless residents will begin to settle into the tiny houses.
The occasion also marks the beginning of a 180-day temporary zoning permit for the village, after which the community will likely have to relocate to another site.
BELOVED COMMUNITY VILLAGE OPENS AND RESIDENTS MOVE IN!
For: Immediate Release
What: Press Conference
Date: July 29 2017
Where: Beloved Community Village
3733 Walnut St.
The Beloved Community Village residents have begun moving in!
Press is invited to a press conference at the village on Saturday July 29th at 3pm.
The Colorado Village Collaborative and its many community partners have built Denver Colorado's first tiny home village for homeless people. Thanks to the over 400 volunteers, to Whiting-Turner, to Mennonite Disaster Services, and village residents together we built this village! This was truly a community effort - it takes a village to build a village!
Residents moved in on July 21, 2017 with joy and relief from the short wait to move in to their tiny homes. This has been a long process through changing city codes, fundraising, building the village, and building community...and this is not the end! But we are so excited to finally be moved into these homes!
This village is born in the context of massive increase in housing costs and people forced to live on the streets being criminalized for simply surviving. Tiny Home villages are an inexpensive, quick, community based, environmentally friendly model which can immediately begin to provide homes and community for those without. Beloved Community Village is not run by outsiders but rather is a self-governed community.
In the near future the CVC will partner with St Andrews Episcopal church to build its next tiny home village. The next build of tiny homes will house homeless women.
The Beloved Community Village will be hosting its volunteers, partners, neighborhood, and friends for a big thank you event later in August.
To inquire about the Beloved Community Village and the next lay out of tiny homes please contact...
Village Phone ... 303-618-3976
Cole Chandler ... 254-744-2948