A Portland, Oregon church is reaching out to the homeless community in their neighborhood by building 15 tiny homes on their 11-acre property. Central Church of the Nazarene saw a need and are extending a helping hand.
“The church is in a place in Portland where we’re moving tents off the front step of the church on a regular basis,” Matt Huff, Lead Pastor at Central Church shared with the Christian Post. “We've got people camping all over the place. And that's our neighbors. How do we engage them and love them and not just to kick them out?”
The idea came after Huff visited other churches in the area with similar programs. He hopes to engage other churches in the community with the village by encouraging them to adopt one of the tiny homes. “I'm just asking for them to come and be friends with the people in it,” said Huff. “And then the church can love them and give them socks if they need socks or wish them a happy birthday.”
The tiny community, called Agape Village, will provide transitional housing for the homeless to get back on their feet. Built entirely by volunteers primarily on Fridays and Saturdays, each insulated “sleeping pod” will hold a central common area, a kitchen, bathroom, and shower, as well as solar power batteries to allow residents to charge their cellphones. It won’t have electricity, plumbing or heating.
Agape Village will not require church attendance, but social workers from one of Agape’s partner organizations will be assigned to each resident. “The idea is that it's transitional and that you're moving and working towards something,” Huff said. “And so if you're going to come here and not want to do anything, it's going to be pretty uncomfortable for you to be there. The idea [is] that these aren't your forever homes, that they're a place where you can find safety and stability in the relationship that you need to move on to wherever God wants to have you in life.”
Residents must adhere to five rules: no violence, no theft, no alcohol or drugs, no disruptive behavior, and everyone must volunteer to help make Agape Village better.
“The ultimate goal is to create a village which involves the entire community in giving our neighbors a hand-up,” a statement on Agape Village’s website read. “We want this village to be a win-win for everyone — making our community safer while giving people a chance to find health and stability.”
Photo courtesy: Geran de Klerk/Unsplash
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine. She blogs at mikaelamathews.com.