Community First! Village

For those of you who have read Awakened, you may recall in the epilogue, I discussed Community First! Village in Austin, TX - a community established to restore dignity and community to the chronically homeless in the Austin area. I had the extreme privilege to visit for a week in December and stay in one of their tiny homes in their Community Inn. I knew my readers would be keenly interested in learning more about this exciting village, so I did be best to take lots of pictures to help tell the tale.

So first off, here is the cozy tiny home that I stayed in for the week:

(you know like the slippers from Wizard of Oz!)
It had a full size loft bed, a twin bed on the main level, gas stovetop grill, fridge, and full bathroom with shower.
Photo credit : Community First!
Photo credit : Community First!
Photo crddit: Community First! 

Photo credit : Community First! 

Ruby was very comfortable, and I was ever more grateful for the HVAC unit. It got pretty chilly at night in December in Austin, but the min-split unit kept the tiny house toasty warm. I was also grateful when I discovered it had a Keurig coffeemaker, so I woke each morning with a delightful cup of coffee to start my day out right!

Also included in the selection of accommodations in the Community Inn are, yes, Tepees! It seemed a bit too cold for this option in December. Imagine my surprise when I woke Monday and discovered that other guests had slept in the teepees.

Community First! has an amphitheater where they host free family movie nights on Friday nights that is open to the public. It is a great way for the surrounding neighbors to learn about the community. 

 Mobile Loaves and Fishes originated as a ministry that provided food, hot beverages, water, socks, and blankets to the homeless around Austin by driving to the various homeless camps and serving Goodness with trucks like this one.

They now have a fleet of trucks!

One of the wonderful elements of construction through out the community is the water catchment systems that is included on the tiny houses as well as the public community buildings. This water is used to water plants and gardening.

Along with the water catchment, the community also has included solar power in the design of several buildings. (at the corner of Grace and Mercy Trail and Goodness BLVD.)

The community has an incredible garden. They hold a farmers market on Saturdays where everyone in the village can get fresh vegetables for free.

How's that for an outdoor chess set?

The coolest barbecue grill ever. I tried really hard to figure out how to get it home with me. They watched me really close every time I got near it.

Homeless individuals are allowed to select from RVs, canvas "tent homes", or tiny homes varying in size. They pay monthly rent which varies depending on the size of the home. Residents can work in various jobs within the village to pay their rent, laundry mat, and have spending money. Jobs include grounds maintenance, cleaning the community buildings and shower houses, working in the gardens, and working in the auto service shop that provides car wash/detailing and oil changes to the general public.

They even have a community library where residents can check out books and movies.

A sneak peek in the door of the chapel.

They have an art studio, a blacksmith shop, and a woodworking shop where residents can earn money building various items and selling them to the surrounding communities. 

There is even a frisbee golf  (or disc golf) course. 

They have enough laying hens that everyone in the community gets a dozen of fresh eggs each week.

I had the honor of volunteering for 4 days alongside of the residents who were performing their daily jobs in the village and got to hear their stories of what it was like living on the streets and how they came to live at Community First! It was encouraging to hear them tell how the community had changed the quality of their lives and restored their dignity.

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