A church in Portland, Oregon is building 15 tiny shelters on its 11-acre property as a tangible way to lift up the homeless in the immediate community and help put them on a path toward self-empowerment.
The village is a nonprofit faith-based initiative designed to provide a substantive response in a community that is largely under-resourced when it comes to providing safe places for the homeless community.
“It started with the church’s desire to more effectively love God and love our neighbor,” Pastor Matt Huff told The Christian Post.
“And the church is in a place in Portland where we’re moving tents off the front step of the church on a regular basis. We’ve got people camping all over the place. And that’s our neighbors. How do we engage them and love them and not just to kick them out?”
Located in an area with a high houseless population, the church has had people living on its property ever since it opened.
Huff explained that the idea for Agape Village was inspired by seeing the work that other churches in the area have done through programs like Opportunity Village in Eugene, Dignity Village in Portland and Kenton Woman’s Village in Portland.
According to Huff, the model that will be implemented by Agape Village will take bits and pieces from all the other villages that Huff visited.
Construction on Agape Village began last summer. The work is being done by a volunteer workforce that builds primarily only on Fridays and Saturdays. The village will consist of about 15 “sleeping pods” that measure 96 square feet in area.
The pods won’t have electricity, plumbing or heating but will have solar powered batteries that will allow residents to charge a cellphone. The pods will also be insulated.
The village will feature a central common area, a kitchen, bathroom, and shower.
The village will be self-governed and overseen by the Agape Village Board. The village will be monitored 24/7 by volunteers and residents. The village will be fenced off and residents will be required to check in and out as they leave and enter.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith