"We're going to be able to serve up to 25 people at a time, which is essentially doubling our capacity," says Cole Chandler, director of the Colorado Village Collaborative. "We’re excited about that, and excited to be able to offer a unique and innovative housing form that can help bridge the gap between the streets and stable housing for our neighbors who are living in homelessness."
In addition to the new units, which are expected to be constructed by the end of the month, the village will add by the end of January a community building that will include three bathrooms, a kitchen and an eating area. Chandler says the community building will replace porta-potties and showers that are connected to water tanks rather than fixed plumbing. New residents are likely to move into the village around the same time.
The Beloved Community Village moved from RiNo to its Globeville site in May. The move was met with strong opposition from some nearby residents who argued that the city had been using the neighborhood as a dumping ground for projects rejected by other areas.
Chandler says some of that frostiness from certain neighbors is beginning to thaw: "There used to be signs that said 'No tiny homes in Globeville' at two properties across the street. Those have come down."
He adds that the village has an advisory committee made up of neighbors that has met monthly since August, and a half-dozen or so village residents attended a Globeville Thanksgiving potluck in late November.
Chandler's organization will unveil plans for a village for women experiencing homelessness at the beginning of the new year.
Tiny home villages were made possible by an ordinance passed by Denver City Council in October that carved out space for them in the city's zoning and building codes. Prior to the passage of that ordinance, construction of the Beloved Community Village, which was the only such community in Denver, required zoning variances.
"Everybody in our city deserves to live in a home," Councilwoman Robin Kniech, who championed the ordinance, said at the October 7 council meeting.
The zoning-code update allows for tiny home village permits that last up to 180 days, with a chance for a one-year renewal; or up to two years, with a chance for a two-year renewal. The two-year permits require fixed bathrooms rather than portable toilets. After four years, a tiny home village will not be allowed on the same land for another four years. Villages are now allowed in more areas in Denver.
In residential areas, a tiny home village can only be built on a site that already houses a public building, like a church or a community center. Tiny home villages in these areas will be able to hold up to thirty units, each of which can house two people. Each unit must be a minimum of seventy square feet, according to building and fire-code updates.
The new zoning-code update also requires tiny home village developers to reach out to nearby neighbors and neighborhood organizations of a proposed site and work with them to craft safety regulations, the resident application process, and a way to resolve any disputes that might arise in the village.
Community Planning and Development, in partnership with Kniech, is also working on another zoning-code update that would allow for permanent tiny home villages, part of the city's effort to revamp the zoning code to allow for more group-living situations.