Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty is pioneering a new approach to the homeless crisis by building a stable, supportive community that addresses the causes of homelessness in a way that uplifts the dignity of each individual, according to Kim Curtis, executive director of the project.
Goodness Village is a community of 28 independent tiny homes located at the CrossWinds Church property in Livermore. Calling on the expertise of local and regional experts to address the causes of homelessness, the tiny home village is the result of a multi-year effort to create effective permanent solutions that address the specific needs of Livermore residents.
The program will offer 24-hour mental and physical health support, crisis management, and full wrap-around services including case management. An outdoor barbecue pavilion, orchard, walking paths, and a creek are available to residents of the community, as well. A community garden that will provide food for local food banks, an arts program, vocational training and a mentorship program will provide opportunities for residents to be engaged in meaningful activity, employment, or to develop their own craft.
A program that builds beds for kids is also already underway on-site.
“There is a deep necessity in our community for a program like this” said Haggerty. "I'm glad we are able to start addressing this need in the Tri-Valley. Our community members experiencing homelessness are our neighbors. They were our neighbors before they lost their homes and continue to be our neighbors in these turbulent times."
The vast majority of people experiencing homelessness, families and individuals, are from our own community. The Point in Time count shows that around 83% of people experiencing homelessness in our region were living in Alameda County for over a year before losing their housing, with 57% of individuals living in the region for over 10 years.
While 28 people may be a small percentage of the homeless population within the Tri Valley or in the county as a whole, the hope is that this will provide a model. Built in collaboration between Haggerty, CrossWinds Church, the City of Livermore, HomeAid, and countless private businesses and volunteers, Goodness Village is already being used as a model for neighboring communities. It has also sparked the imagination of youth.
Goodness Village is the site of an Eagle Scout project, and the Livermore High School Engineering Academy is looking at ways to expand the concept to address the needs of more Livermore residents.
Initial funding for the project came from Haggerty's office and has received extensive support from the City of Livermore, as well as numerous private businesses and volunteers. Building the project on church property also helps reduce the cost of the program. In the long run, the Goodness Village model seeks to be financially independent and self-sustaining.
Chris Coli, Senior Pastor at CrossWinds Church, said, “We're excited to work with our county and our city as we band together with other churches, synagogues and mosques to open our hearts and allow the goodness within us all to shine out and lift up our community together."
“Housing instability has reached a level of crisis. This has become increasingly clear during the pandemic, and we are still awaiting the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic” said Haggerty. “One of the things we have learned during this crisis is the important role of stabilization in successfully transitioning out of homelessness. We recognize that people's circumstances are different; some people need a few months to get back on their feet, while others will require ongoing support. Communities need to work together to address these different needs. Partnerships like these work.”
Goodness Village has already received 33 referrals from local nonprofits, street outreach teams, families of unsheltered individuals, and the Homeless Services Liaisons from the Livermore and Pleasanton Police Departments.