Roughly five months ago, we finished building 2 homes for Community First, Austin’s most progressive homeless housing community. We were approached by some of the founders of the community, who had nothing to offer us but a well-organized plan, and asked to donate our time, materials, and whatever else it might take to build these homes. We jumped in with both feet and have never looked back!
It was at a builder meeting that we first learned about the project. It was so well-planned. Residents would be living in what are now called “tiny homes” with centralized bathroom & kitchen facilities located throughout the community. By removing the plumbing & appliances from each home and by working with major national suppliers, they were able to negotiate the cost of the materials down to $10,000 per home. That meant, if we would supply the labor (essentially for free) and purchase the materials for the home, we would be essentially able to provide housing to someone for $10,000. We just couldn’t say no. Where else can you find the opportunity to do so much good for so little? We just couldn’t believe the planning and effort that would allow us to take part in such an endeavor! We opted to build 2 homes in the Community First Village.
We spent our weekends in the heat of the Summer and called in a few favors from our trade partners. It was a little more ambitious than we originally thought, but it was all worth it! After a couple of months of building their infrastructure, the community is finally opening its doors to residents. This weekend, we dedicated one of the houses and gave the keys to the new owner. As she approached the home for the first time, she was asked if she needed help bringing in her things. She said, “No, I don’t have anything. This is a brand new start for me.” Needless to say, we were very touched when we were able to meet her for the first time.
There are more than a handful of times that we have been able to hand over a key to a home to someone and feel the joy they feel, but there were none more fulfilling than this key ceremony. We are humbled and thankful that we were able to share in this amazing housing development that has helped so many get off the streets and into a real home and be part of a real community. You will find a Jenkins Home at only the most prestigious addresses, and this one is no exception!
To read more about the Community First Village and how it is changing lives, click on the Statesman article here.