DENVER - St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on 20th Avenue and Glenarm Place want to put eight tiny houses for homeless women on their property. The houses would be 96 square feet and the village would include a shared bathroom and shower.
“At eight homes it’s not going to make a huge dent in the homeless population, but it’s certainly a start and it will certainly give eight women an incredible amount of dignity and autonomy as they get ready to move on,” Ally Dodge, a church leader said.
The church wants to partner with the Dolores Project to vet candidates and run the program. The women would likely be in search of affordable housing, looking to change their lives.
“One of the core tenants of this village is about self-governance. It’s about giving respect and responsibility and dignity back to the villagers as they put their lives back together and back on track,” Dodge said.
The idea of “self-governance” is just one of the reasons that some neighbors aren’t interested in having the village. Carol Tarter Petersen has lived in the area for 28 years. She lives across the street from the church and says the idea of self-governance hasn’t worked at other homeless houses nearby.
“It adds to the saturation that is already here which exacerbates the problems with the drugs, with the violence, with the police calls, with the trash,” Tarter Petersen said.
She says she appreciates the diversity of her neighborhood but that creating a village of homeless people is not the way to sustain that.
“Statistics have shown, concentrating any particular demographic creates a segregated community. Not an integrated one. We prefer to have a diversified community here that continued to improve for everybody that lives here,” Tarter Petersen said.
Church officials say they want to continue the conversation with people who have concerns. There’s a meeting on Wednesday, September 21 at 6 p.m. at the offices of Radian, Inc. There’s another on September 28 at 6 p.m. at Fluid Coffee Bar.
The church says grants will be the primary source of funding. They base the program off of something very similar already installed in Seattle. Tiny houses are allowed in the city of Denver thought zoning codes can make them difficult to implement. Church officials say they plan to meet with the city to see what their expectations are.
Here’s the church’s plan: http://bit.ly/2cDO9mx
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