By Tom Mustin

DENVER (CBS4) – Life in a goldfish bowl has officially ended for residents at the Beloved Community Village in Denver’s RiNO neighborhood.

Tiny home village in Denver’s RiNo Art District. (credit: CBS)

The crowd-funded tiny homes house formerly homeless residents hoping to start new lives.

Many residents complained about lack of privacy- specifically outsiders, peering through the chain link fence surrounding the village.

(credit: CBS)

Now, the RiNo Art District has come up with a creative solution. A new privacy fence was installed that serves as both an artistic expression, and a buffer to protect residents from the outside world.

Swaths of color have added peace of mind to residents of Denver’s tiny home village.

“It gives us a sense of privacy,” resident Chris Samu told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.

(credit: CBS)

Fifteen formerly homeless residents live in eight-by-12 foot homes at the corner of 38th and Walnut.

Previously, drivers and curious neighbors would peer through the chain link fence to get a glimpse of the homes and residents.

“A bit of a fish bowl. We felt like a pet in the zoo sometime, ‘ said resident Amanda McDougald.

Tenants approached Tracy Weil and the Rino Art District for a solution.

“They asked us if we could help do kind of an art intervention on the fence,” said Weil. “Treat the fence in some sort of artistic way that would give them a little more privacy.”

Sunday, 60 volunteers helped place privacy slats around the fence. The brightly colored slats spell out the word “home,” and block the village view from the street.

(credit: CBS)

Residents approve.

“It gives us a sense of well-being, privacy. We don’t feel like we’re in an exhibit. Like at a zoo,” said Samu.

The slats came from New York. The art district and the village picked up the $2500 dollar tab.

Weil says the new fence is worth every penny.

(credit: CBS)

“They’re not feeling like they’re in a fish bowl anymore. They can live on their own and do their own thing,” said Weil.

For Samu, the new fence is simply another step on the road to a new life.

“Not only is it creative, it basically is sending a message because this is our home. They did a wonderful job. I love it.”

Denver zoning laws require the village to move to a new location every six months.

The present location permit expires in January. One possible solution is to relocate the property to a new plot of land across the alley.

The fence is movable, and it will follow the village to its new home, wherever that will be.

RELATED: Tiny Homes For Growing Homeless Population

Tom Mustin is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.


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