Community First Village
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Wealth & Poverty Review Solutions to Homelessness: Austin’s Community First! Village

All is not lost. Our politicians may not have a grasp on how to fix homelessness, but ordinary people might.

Take, for instance, Alan Graham and his Community First! Village in Austin, Texas. What started as a mobile food truck serving the homeless has exploded into a 51-acre RV community providing not just a home, but a transformed life, to those experiencing chronic homelessness.

Alan makes a moving statement in the above video: “We believe that the single greatest cause of homelessness, particularly in our country, is a profound, catastrophic loss of family.”

This is the heartbeat of the Community First! Village. Yes, the homeless need a home. But more than that, they need the supportive care of a community – of family. “No man is an island,” as the saying goes.

In Ending Homelessness: Why We Haven’t, How We Can, Michelle McHenry-Edrington shares her own story of how she became homeless after intentionally keeping family and friends in the dark about her situation:

“I was too proud to tell my family what I was going through, I couldn’t tell my friend Gino because I didn’t want to seem helpless or sound needy, and Toni, well, I had been so happy and sure of myself about the move to Colorado that I didn’t want to sound like a failure.”

Michelle’s story ends well. Many stories do not. Alan’s village is a beacon of hope and a reminder that there are creative solutions to homelessness.

Caitlin Bassett

Caitlin Bassett is a Policy Analyst and Communications Liaison for the Center for Science & Culture and the Center on Wealth & Poverty. Her main areas of focus are in Big Tech and its impact on human freedom, as well as homelessness and mental illness. In her free time, she enjoys delving into Lewis and Tolkien, cosmology, and running around historical sites on the East Coast. She graduated from Liberty University in 2017 with her Bachelor’s in Politics and Policy.