Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE) is a 30 unity tiny home village in Eugene, Ore. According to Square One Villages, the community opened its gates in August 2013. Each of the tiny homes is between 60 and 80 square feet (6-7 square meters). Religion & Ethics Newsweekly points out that none of the homes have indoor plumbing or electricity, but those who have lived on the streets are used to not having what most people consider common place and very thankful for a place to call their own.
What these tiny spaces do afford those who take up residency there are privacy and security. A common kitchen and bath house are available for those who reside in the community. The kitchen is an outdoor facility, but the residents are required to keep it clean.
Each person also has access to computers and wi-fi and receives a quarterly bus pass.
Who are the people behind Opportunity Village?
Religion and Ethics Newsweekly states that the mastermind behind this project is Andrew Heben, an urban planner. He came up with the original design for the village. Pastor Dan Bryant of the First Christian Church and Father Brent Was of the Episcopal Church are both on the Board of Directors for the village.
What does it mean for homeless people?
In an interview with Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, Kathy Griffith reveals that OVE means safety and privacy for those who reside in the village. It's also an opportunity to become an important part of something. Griffith says in her interview, "It gives you the chance to have a voice. You feel like you have some control over your life."
Removing the constant threat of physical harm allows those in the village to focus on the future. For Griffith, this opportunity has meant re-employment, a new apartment and marraige.
How is the life in the village?
According to Square One Villages, those who live in the village are required to pay $30 a month to help cover the cost of utilities. The village is a gated community, so each person in the village must spend eight hours each week working the front desk. This ensures that the residents can feel safe inside the village.
Since the community helped build the village, everyone gives back by being required to do two hours of community improvement work a week. Since everyone uses a central bath house, villagers must also clean the bathroom once a month.
Religion and Ethics Newsweekly states that to ensure that everything runs smoothly, all are required to attend the village meetings. The villagers run the entire community, and all decisions are made at the meeting with a majority vote ruling.
The village has been such a success that a second village is in the works. It will be called Emerald Village and will be designed for those who have a job but can't afford an apartment. As the tiny house movement moves across the nation, innovative ideas like this one make the public in general sit up and pay attention.