In the United States, homelessness is a big issue. Currently there are around 1.75 million people without a home, and many of these are young teenagers. The most common reasons for being homeless are lack of affordable housing, poverty and not being able to find work.
In Austin, Texas, on any given night, around 2000 people are homeless—either living on the street or in a shelter. Alan Graham, of Austin’s Mobile Loaves and Fishes aims to change that. After a decade of planning and fundraising, the organization has been given permission by the city to move ahead with creating a 27-acre property providing housing for some 200 chronically homeless citizens. Called “Community First!”, the village will be sprinkled with tiny houses, mobile homes, teepees, refurbished RVs, a community garden, chapel, medical facility, a bed and breakfast, and an outdoor movie theater.
Residents will have to work and pay a minimal rent to be able to stay at the compound, but organizers say there will be endless opportunities for employment within the village.
Graham has been working with the homeless in his community for more than 14 years and cites broken families as the leading cause of homelessness. With Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Graham has not only helped feed the homeless all these years, but he has helped transition them into homes and jobs as well.
Graham views Community First! as the next step in that mission and the next step toward solving homelessness in the U.S.