We hope that the first episode of "Housing is a Human Right," our newest webinar series, provided a clear introduction to the organizations that are taking action to address the homelessness and housing crises in their communities.
We had a lively conversation with Amber Fogarty of Community First Village in Austin, Texas; Dan Bryant and Andrew Heben of SquareOne Villages in Eugene, Cottage Grove, and Springfield, Oregon; Samuel Greeny and Camille Winnie from The Other Side Village in Salt Lake City, Utah; Nate Schlueter of Eden Village in seven cities in four states; Missouri, Virginia, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania; and María Fernanda of Techo in Monterrey, Mexico.
The video is already on YouTube! (embedded below)
At 1:30, the webinar began with brief introductions and shared information about the projects. Most projects include building self-sustaining villages where houses, tiny houses/tiny homes, micro houses, and RVs are built surrounding community centers, with employment and educational opportunities. We learned that villages are meticulous systems in which people who experience homelessness are hosted and introduced to spaces in which they can socialize, and have opportunities for personal and professional growth.
At 5:45, we ask the first questions: "What are your projects? What is your organization doing to address the housing and homelessness crises?"
At 22:50, we asked about their "Why?" Why are you doing this? – needless to say, we see how compassion abounds in this work. For me, it embodies the Golden Rule (Treat others as you want to be treated) and putting oneself in someone else's shoes ,to just, for even a second, understand how they see the world, how they are treated, their pain, and what we can do to help alleviate and end that pain.
At 45:48, we answer a question from the audience: "How do you get the land? Building roads, sewage, etc.? How is that funded?"
At 54:54, we take one last question from the audience: "Are there resources for others to replicate these projects in their cities/communities?" *Spoiler Alert* the answer is YES! This is the Charter's motivation for holding these webinars. We want to showcase the work done in North America by these organizations. These projects and organizations can show and train people how to create their own projects in their own communities. If your city is a Compassionate City, reach out to them and see if they can work with you. Woof, this is all incredibly exciting!
Of course, we at the Charter understand that these projects, while so helpful and amazing at hosting safe spaces and creating community, do not and should not eradicate the homelessness crises completely. It must be addressed within the policy world, community involvement, taxes, income disparity, accessible education, available healthcare, etc.
And even more profoundly, in order to be a more caring and compassionate society we need to be creating changes in our mentality and how we live our lives, choosing collaboration over competition, understanding privilege, how we should treat each other and extending our helping hands, as we work on ourselves.
Join us for the next episode, coming Tuesday at 8 am PDT. Our guest is Amber Fogarty of Community First Village in Austin, Texas. Register here, and join us for another rich conversation with an incredible organization. Questions encouraged!