I recently had the honor of keynoting at the public affairs conference at Missouri State University. The university was kind enough to bring me in a few days early to connect with local homeless services and meet new homeless friends.
One of the highlights was touring Eden Village Of The Gathering Tree in Springfield, Missouri. Eden Village is a tiny homes community that has found a very unique way to bypass NIMBY (not in my backyard) resistance to building housing for homeless people. Through research since tiny homes are considered RVs, they discovered that mobile home parks are already zoned for tiny home communities. Eden Village is built on an abandoned mobile home park they purchased.
I believe the most significant battle to ending homelessness will be gaining public support. Not every community will have abandoned mobile home parks, but this workaround zoning law may be a way for homeless service providers to build tiny homes without the neighborhood battle.
I have always been torn about the tiny homes concept. The reason is I have seen people push for tiny homes simply because they want tiny homes completely ignoring the human aspect. We just can’t warehouse people in boxes. Homeless people need tangible social interaction through community along with health and wellness support like mental health services.
Eden Village is a model that provides services and dignity. If you’d like more information, please visit their website here.
Lester will be moving into Eden Village soon.