The Beloved Community Village, a collection of eleven tiny homes in RiNo occupied by formerly homeless residents, has been looking for a new host site ever since last September, when Denver's Department of Public Works rejected a plan for the village to relocate to the Zeppelins' TAXI campus, citing concerns over flooding. The organization behind the tiny homes — the Colorado Village Collaborative — was taken by surprise, having already drawn up site plans for the move to TAXI. The group had also promised the Urban Land Conservancy, the owners of the land the village currently occupies at 38th and Blake streets, that it would vacate that premises by January 1 so that the ULC could break ground on a new apartment complex.
Organizers behind the tiny home village had to scramble to find a new site — though the ULC did agree to extend its deadline to vacate the RiNo site to March 1. And it now appears that the tiny home village will be able to meet the new deadline. On February 5, Denver City Council's Finance and Governance Subcommittee will consider a site plan submitted by Colorado Village Collaborative that calls for the village to be relocated to a parcel of city-owned land that's bound by Washington Street, Pearl Street and 44th Avenue in Globeville. The location is circled in this photo:
This time, Denver's Department of Community Planning and Development worked closely with the Colorado Village Collaborative to find a suitable property and ensure there wouldn't be any last-minute concerns. “We learned that the hard way,” says Cole Chandler with the CVC. “But this is a really positive step forward in terms of our relationship with the city. This is where we've wanted to be the whole time: working with the city and doing things using public assets for the public good.”
The site is 40,000 square feet, though the city has allotted just half of that for the tiny home village. In preparation for the village, Denver Public Works has already paved the lot, and it also plans to build a security fence, according to Chandler.
Chandler does not except any hiccups with city approval this time around. "We have no known opposition on council, but we're still doing our best to let every city council member know that this is a good step for the city to take," he says.
He adds that there will be three phases in establishing the new location for the tiny home village.
The first is relocating all existing structures from the RiNo location to the Globeville spot — eleven tiny homes, a community room and a shower complex. The cost to move the structures will be somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000, some of which the Colorado Village Collaborative had raised in anticipation of moving to TAXI in late 2018, though Chandler says he hopes the city will chip in for at least some of the expense for a probable move to Globeville.
The second phase involves constructing a community building with three bathrooms, a kitchen and a meeting space that will be connected to water and sewer lines. The building will replace the more temporary porta potties, “circ” house (similar to a yurt) and shower units currently used at the RiNo location.
“And for our third phase, we have space to add up to nine more housing units,” Chandler says. “So we're going to try to grow the village from eleven units to twenty units, as we're able to with funding."
He says that the site plan already accounts for 20 homes, an almost 50 percent expansion of the current iteration of the Beloved Community Village.
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Organizers are already meeting with neighbors in Globeville one on one, but expect that there will be community meetings once the proposal is considered by the city council as a whole on February 18.
A 2018 study conducted by the University of Denver of the Beloved Community Village's first year in RiNo found that people who lived there found more stability (including three individuals who moved from the village to permanent housing) and had no negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhood.
Chandler says the city will give the group one-year leases to use the land, renewable for up to three years in a row. The full site plan can be viewed below.