The inspiration is this sprawling village of tiny homes on the outskirts of Austin. When it is completely finished, Community First! Village will be able to house nearly 600 people. That is half of Austin’s chronically homeless population.
Now Corpus Christi community leaders are undertaking a similar project.
"It is so inspirational. I just think it’s great that the city embraces the fact that there is a chronic homeless community, and they are addressing it," said Paulette Kluge, CEO of the Convention & Visitors Bureau and a member of the Advisory Board on Homelessness.
The first step in addressing the local homeless community are 15 tiny structures.
They were built by students participating in the SkillsUSA competition earlier this year, and donated to the Advisory Board on Homelessness.
Now Del Mar College is taking the next step. Students studying architecture and construction will transform the wooden frames into tiny shelters for the homeless
"We are looking at trying to complete the structures to meet the needs of the community, so that they’re being used and not just tossed aside," said Laura Wright, Chair of Technology Education and Assistant Professor of Architectural Drafting at Del Mar College.
Local home building companies, including Braselton Homes and Hogan Homes, are also supporting the project with design expertise and building materials.
However, there are two crucial elements still needed to make this project a reality.
One is a dedicated group willing to operate the village. The Advisory Board is considering a few local groups that already work with the homeless.
The other is the right location.
"We’ve looked at about 11 sites, and none of them seem to be exactly perfect, but we’re going to work on that until we get it completed," Kluge said.
The goal is to move some homeless off the streets and into that tiny village sometime this year.
"Giving them not only shelter, but a sense of pride and responsibility. And everybody wants to help, we’ve got a flood of support," Wright said.
After the first 15 homes are complete, the Advisory Board on Homelessness hopes to expand the village.
They plan to get more tiny structures from the SkillsUSA competition again next year, and Del Mar College will develop a student workforce dedicated to this cause.