Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF) is carrying out a charity project that effectively deals with homelessness in the city of Austin. The video shows how the organization, with the help of several donors and volunteers, is constructing tiny houses to accommodate people who are suffering from chronic homelessness.
MLF was founded in Austin, Texas and has been serving the community through various programs. Before they got into housing, Mobile Loaves & Fishes started with giving out meals to the homeless. The organization quickly realized that meals alone would not be enough as these people also needed a place to stay and call home. This led to the establishment of Community First, a master-planned settlement that provides affordable permanent housing and a support system for homeless individuals.
For a person to be admitted into the housing program, they should have been homeless for at least 12 months in the past three years. Homelessness, in the case of Community First, is defined as living in an area that is not meant for human habitation.
Currently, there are two phases of the Community First housing schemes. The first phase has about 150 tiny houses and RV/Park homes and the second phase has about 200 units. Each unit is built using commercial metal fabrication. They have a bed and a kitchen area, and some have a porch. One thing that is unique about the community units is that they do not have plumbing inside. Instead, there are outdoor kitchens and laundry/restroom/shower facilities. Also, depending on who worked on each unit, they all have different designs.
Besides housing, the settlements established by Mobile Loaves & Fishes also offer the residents a chance to get back into the workforce. Since accommodation is not free, the inhabitants are encouraged to find work so that they can pay rentals. Each person is assigned a social worker who will follow up on them to ensure they keep paying rent and staying peacefully with other community members. Community First also features a community hall that has mailboxes. This means that each resident will have an address they can use to receive mail, making it possible for them to apply for work.
This transformative housing scheme not only seeks to provide shelter for the homeless, but it also gets the community involved in contributing towards care of the less privileged. However, though many people and companies come together to donate their skills, equipment, building material and labour to the program, the housing units do not belong to any individual. Instead, all of them are owned by Community first.