What do you call it when a deacon from a local church gets to thinking about how to solve a problem, in this case, chronic homelessness, learns of other communities building tiny houses, goes to the Bozeman city offices to find out about building code requirements, and meets an Architecture Professor, who just happens to direct the MSU Community Design Center? Coincidence? Synchronicity? Serendipity? A God Moment? Whatever you call it, that meeting in the Fall of 2016 led to a collaboration involving local churches, Montana State University’s School of Architecture, the non-profit, HRDC, local businesses and individuals culminating in the creation of The Housing First Village, which is being built on the north 7th area of Bozeman. It is part of an innovative plan to centralize services for those chronically challenged with issues such as homelessness, food insecurity, etc.
We spoke with three members of the Gallatin Valley Interfaith Association, Rev. Connie Campbell-Pearson, who was the St. James Episcopal Church deacon who went to the city offices on that fateful day in 2016, along with Rev. Jody McDevitt of First Presbyterian Church and Amanda Cater of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman. They organized other local religious groups to raise $139,000 to build tiny homes in the Housing First Village.
In part two, we spoke with the head of the MSU School of Architecture, Ralph Johnson, about how graduate and undergraduate students in their Community Design Center contributed to the project.
It has now grown under the aegis of HRDC, which is working to build the Food and Resource Center, a nearly 32,000-square-foot building that will become the new home of the Gallatin Valley Food Bank and Fork and Spoon restaurant, along with other HRDC programs. Of the planned 19 tiny homes to be constructed, 12 are nearing completion with occupancy hoped to begin in the Fall of 2021.
You can view this short video produced by HRDC “The Making of Housing First Village” here: https://vimeo.com/583977147
More details can be found in Professor Johnson’s paper, HOMELESSNESS: A Critical Approach to Architecture and Planning, here: https://www.witpress.com/Secure/elibrary/papers/SDP18/SDP18057FU1.pdf
Articles pertinent to this program:
HRDC plans to combat growing food insecurity with new project https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/hrdc-plans-to-combat-growing-food-insecurity-with-new-project/article_e3eafff9-268e-5d9b-9187-4a57bc37d996.html
MSU architecture students debut tiny shelter prototype for community’s homeless https://www.montana.edu/news/17716/
Rezoning In Livingston As Cities Consider Tiny Homes As Solution To Housing Shortage https://www.mtpr.org/montana-news/2021-08-19/rezoning-in-livingston-as-cities-consider-tiny-homes-as-solution-to-housing-shortage
Nearly half of American workers don’t earn enough to afford a one-bedroom rental https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/aug/12/housing-renter-affordable-data-map
Technology services company commonFont makes $500,000 donation to HRDC’s Griffin Place https://www.montanarightnow.com/bozeman/technology-services-company-commonfont-makes-500-000-donation-to-hrdc-s-griffin-place/article_6ff5f74c-d24c-11ea-8b93-5b34465df46e.html
Police, organizations help with homelessness outreach in Bozeman https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/police-organizations-help-with-homelessness-outreach-in-bozeman/article_4ae1c7b1-628b-534d-9c6a-76a3303d3503.html
The Great Eliminator: How Ronald Reagan Made Homelessness Permanent https://www.sfweekly.com/news/the-great-eliminator-how-ronald-reagan-made-homelessness-permanent/