DENVER (CBS4)– Some of Denver’s homeless now have a safe place to call home thanks to a tiny homes pilot program.
CBS4 first reported on the pilot program in March, when a temporary zoning application was submitted to the City of Denver.
One month ago, Amanda McDougald was living on the streets. Today, she has her own home near 38th and Walnut, and says it’s a step up from living in a shelter.
“The day we moved I had gotten woken up by cops [that morning] as if I was being a criminal,” McDougald said. “That night I was in a house and had a roof over my head. It’s huge a blessing.”
The application and interview process began in the spring. The only requirement was homelessness.
“I have insomnia and PTSD, and I have high anxiety, and I don’t do well with the shelter life for that reason, and also because I’m sober myself, and you’re around a lot of drug users in a shelter, and it’s not conducive to staying sober,” McDougald said.
She’s one of 13 people picked to live in Beloved Community Village, a first of it’s kind pilot program in the state of Colorado. The property houses 11 tiny homes, two showers, two sinks, two porta potties, a library, and a community garden.
Organizers hope the pilot program will become permanent.
“The sweeps had become so terrible, so we realized that we had to create spaces that were dignified, and that were still outside of the shelters where people could feel safe,” said The Buck Foundation Executive Director PJ D’Amico. “I hope that we can scale this and create these throughout the city, so we can deconcentrate homelessness from the downtown corridor, and really engage people back into communities where they belong. People need neighbors.”
Residents say they’re grateful for a second chance to get back on their feet.
“We want to see it work. It motivates us to do well with it, and really take it, and move forward,” McDougald said. “Having a place to lay your head and leave your stuff makes it so much easier to find work, and move forward, and become a successful member of society again.”
The pilot program is expected to end in January 2018 when the owners of the land begin construction on another project.
Beloved Community Village hopes to find a new location and open up other villages around the city.