This month, fourteen Denver residents will be moving into their newly-built tiny homes as members of the Beloved Community Village. They will move into their new houses after approximately four years of hard work, from advocates for the homeless population of Denver. The Beloved Community Village consists of 11 tiny homes, with each two-person unit measuring just 8-foot-by-12-foot. Also on site is a community space, shared shower facilities, and shared restrooms.
This village will house people who otherwise wouldn’t be safe or even allowed in a shelter. Many members of the homeless community find they “have no other option than sleeping on the streets,” Benjamin Dunning, co-founder of Denver Homeless Out Loud, says. Couples are not allowed to stay at shelters together, and pets are not allowed either. Further, most homeless shelters split men and women up, leaving no clear, safe place for transgender individuals.
Residents for the village were chosen in two different stages — in April 2017, the Colorado Village Collaborative told members of the homeless community about the project and invited them to apply for a space. Dunning says the organization received around 30 applications out of which six were selected. These six future residents formed the Village Council and were tasked with the decision-making process. Giving residents the power to self-govern the village is one of the key aspects of the pilot program. “This will not be a shelter provider situation where people tell people how to lead their lives,” Terese Howard, a member of Denver Homeless Out Loud, told the Denver Post. “They will be independent.”