"(We) talk about structures and amenities, but the most basic principles of a home actually have very little to do with structures. It is privacy, security and the ability to stay warm and dry, beyond that everything else becomes a little more convenient.”
Andrew Heben is a US based Urban Planner and Designer. Currently he is Project and Program Director at SquareOne Villages whose tiny home villages, Opportunity Village and Emerald Village are being heralded as creativity solutions to enabling the homeless to again become active members of society.
Before establishing Opportunity Village in Eugene, Oregon, Andrew spent a month living in a homeless camp and visited a dozen other similar places gathering experience to conceive a learned model encompassing best practice. What resulted is Opportunity Village – a “transitional micro-housing” pilot project, providing stable and safe homes to assist the unhoused transition to more sustainable living situations which is also self governed – residents sign a community agreement and a Village Council is responsible for ensuring agreements are adhered to.
The governing model not only ensures peace and respect, it also serves to return a sense of agency to residents who have been used to going unheard. Residents become invested in the community and the process – in turn they become the village’s strongest advocates.
Hear more from Andrew in the video below. Titled “The Dignity Project” it profiles Opportunity Village residents – putting faces to figures and stories to facts.