A while back Christina wrote about Zoe Outdoors and than I covered there Eco Cottage. The other day Joe O’Connor wrote me about a new home he has developed that is aimed at the homeless problem in Oregon. I will let Joe explain the project to you.
I am a lawyer by profession, but I retired my practice early to be able to devote full time to a community development foundation that works in impoverished communities. I have had www.zoeoutdoors.com on the side as an outlet for my creative impulses in building things but also as a way to help develop revenue and funds to support our non profit work- see:
www.csdcouncil.org and www.bright-hope.org
So, we built our first arched “hobbit cottage” as a prototype simply because I loved the eclectic natural cedar look and design. Then we built the 2nd prototype (pics below) with a little diffrerent approach, trying to figure out how to continue the classic look, but in a bit more affordable manner. We have engineered a new “Puzzle – Click” arch system where the whole structural framework of the cottage is produced on a CnC machine (computerized cutting machine) . If you look close at the picture below of the interior arches, you can see a puzzle piece connection that makes each wall-roof-floor system become one very accurate easy to assemble integrated system. each arch is assembled flat on the pre cut floor system, tilted up and screwed or nailed in place. The roof can be either cedar shake shingles or a copper or colored steel roof. Or a combination of both.
One of the primary reasons we have taken this design approach goes back to my work in community development through our non profit, specifically working with the homeless (both in Oregon and in the slum townships of South Africa) . Our goal is to have a very attractive Cottage that can be assembled by teams of volunteers- in something of a “habitat for humanity” approach, although we call it “Habititat for the Homeless” . This approach with our “Digntity Cottages” works for both the arched cottage design and a more traditional “English cottage” design (see picture of grey cottage below). Surpisingly, Oregon has the #1 per capita incidence of homelessness in the U.S. and is #2 in unemployment, after only Michigan.
So, we have felt compelled to launch this affordable line of “Dignity Cottages” that can either be prebuilt and delivered like “park models” (11′ x 24′ – average wholesale available cost $16,500) or they can be shipped in an even more affordable kit form that we hope will attract community groups, churches, non profit service agencies to explore and build creative comfortable transistional housing for the homeless. (average cost $6950) All profits (every penny of any net revenue) after production costs goes to support and help fund our own local homeless initiative and possibly some other community homeless projects in other locations that we help launch.
Our local initiative is called “The Village of Hope” (www.bright-hope.org) which is an eclectic coalition of business sponsors, churches, the local faith community and the Salvaation Army of Oregon. We have been incredibly blessed to have been granted the use of 30+ full hook up RV park spaces at a local RV Park in Salem, Oregon where the compassionate owners are allowing us to install a village of Dignity Cottages. Residents will be screened and recommended through a partnership we have here with the Salvation Army who runs the largest emergency homeless shelter. So as you can see, our heart and passion is to demonstrate that it really does:
“Take a village to raise a homeless family out of poverty.”
My primary hope for your kind exposure about this project in the Tiny House Blog is that it might inspire other people and community groups to launch their own “Village of Hope” . We actually are planning a “Village of Hope Network” that will provide information resources, guidance and possibly even some funding to encourage this in other communities. I also would be available (and welcome the opportunity) to come and speak and share about our experience to any group of community organizers that want to “be the change” in their own communities.
One of the cool things about this paradigm approach to serving the homeless, (and also continually inspired by the Tiny House Blog) is based on the fact that if you are “homeless’ you don’t need an institutional shelter, or a big dorm style living situation, you need a “home”. With the tiny house approach to addressing the homeless epidemic, a homeless family is cared for in a dignified, warm and comfortable cottage that truly can be a home as they work on issues that have led to their homelessness, giving them a step up out of poverty. We anticipate the average time spent in the Village of Hope will be 6 months to a year as a homeless family’s situation stabilizes and improves.
Ok, I have probably thrown too much at you already, but it would be awesome for you to feature this in an upcoming blog.
Blessings to you Kent! anybody wanting to contact me about this can reach me at JoeO@csdcouncil.org or 503-581-1838