Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Sanctuary Village?
Welcome to Sanctuary Village, where hope finds a home. We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization representing a beacon of change for people who are experiencing chronic homelessness in the Greater Philadelphia Region. Established in 2019, Sanctuary Village is fully committed to creating the first Tiny House village in the Region, providing transitional housing and critical support services within a context of community partnership, and personal empowerment and agency.
Our mission: to provide people without housing with transitional Tiny Houses within communities of care, advocacy, and equitable access to resources to empower their life choices.
Our vision: a world in which all people have equitable access to supportive community, safe housing, and resources to meet basic human needs, with the agency to create their best life with dignity and acceptance.
Who is supporting Sanctuary Village?
Sanctuary Village is profoundly grateful for the generous support of area foundations, corporations, religious organizations, and individual donors, who have rallied with us to raise over $1MM to date in support of our critically important mission. We also appreciate the extraordinary support from our growing list of community partners who are aligned with our mission to serve the needs of those who are unhoused. Our dedicated Board of Directors, guiding Sanctuary Village with passion and purpose, represents a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, including those with lived experience as people without housing.
We invite you to become a part of the Sanctuary Village family: consider sharing your time, talents, or making a financial donation to help us reach our fundraising goals. Together, we have the power to forge a comprehensive network of support services and creative housing solutions to combat the homelessness crisis. Restoring dignity and hope isn't just a mission; it's a shared journey that benefits every single person in our community.
Why did Sanctuary Village choose this particular housing model?
With our mission in mind, and an unwavering sense of purpose, Sanctuary Village undertook a detailed study of Tiny House villages across the country to gather data on various transitional housing models. In addition to being cost efficient, many of the models have demonstrated strong positive outcomes on residents’ lives, including helping residents transition to permanent housing. We developed our Tiny House village plan based on the many lessons learned from those villages.
What are the details of Sanctuary Village’s first Tiny House village?
Where is the Tiny House village?
Our first planned site is a property owned by the City of Philadelphia located at 7979 State Road in the Holmesburg neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia (our “Holmesburg Harmony Village” project). This initial village will include 28 Tiny Houses paired with access to needed human services, to support residents’ efforts to attain permanent housing.
We hope to expand upon this initial pilot project through the development of other Tiny House villages in the future. Like certain other Tiny House communities across the country, our portable house design allows for flexibility, to accommodate growth and relocation as needed.
What are the features of the Tiny Houses?
Our Tiny Houses are designed to be 8’ wide X 12’ long, plus a 4’ X 8’ front porch [CONFIRM]. Each house will have electricity, heat, and air conditioning, as well as a unique lock to help residents feel secure in their new homes. In addition, each house may include amenities such as the following (actual items may vary):
Bed, desk, and chair
Foot locker, under-bed storage, and open closet
Curtains and linens
What other facilities will be part of the village?
At our pilot site, Holmesburg Harmony Village, residents will share a communal kitchen, dining area, bathrooms, laundry facility, television room, and meeting space. This communal building also will include the case management office. We also plan to install a community garden, walkways, and other outdoor amenities to enhance residents’ quality of life. There will be a security fence around the entire property with 24-hour secured/gated access, including security cameras to help ensure a safe environment.
The planned site layout for Holmesburg Harmony Village is set forth here:
[INSERT MOST CURRENT RENDERING]
What services will be available to residents of the village?
In addition to transitional housing, regular meals, and emergency supplies, Sanctuary Village will offer residents the following supportive programs at the planned village:
A coordinated and individualized approach to assessment, case management, and service planning
Engagement services that facilitate residents’ acceptance and use of needed community services including
drug/alcohol treatment, mental health treatment, medical treatment, legal assistance, and job and vocational training
Access to life skills training, financial literacy classes, health education, peer support and 12-step recovery groups
Opportunities for leadership and peer support through a community committee comprised of participants
How will the residents be selected to live in one of the Tiny Houses?
Our first Tiny House community will serve an especially vulnerable group ‒ women who are chronically unhoused and who are age 55+ and/or with pre-existing health conditions. Although women who are unhoused in Philadelphia are outnumbered by men by a factor of three or four times to one, women have far fewer services than men and are in need of living spaces where they can feel safe. At Holmesburg Harmony Village, we will work in collaboration with the City’s Office of Homeless Services (OHS) and the Welcome Church, a congregation that works closely with and is predominantly composed of people who are chronically unhoused.
[DO WE NEED TO CONFIRM ROLE OF OHS VS.WELCOME CHURCH OR CAN THIS STAY AS IS?]
Is there a contract that residents must sign?
Yes. Tiny House residents will sign a Resident Code of Conduct contract which includes commitments to nonviolence and maintaining a drug/alcohol-free presence, among other requirements. Any breach of the contract may result in
residents being asked to leave the village.
What will governance look like at the Tiny House village?
Our Tiny House residents will have the opportunity to help shape their community culture and policies through group meetings and leadership opportunities. Residents also will be empowered to make individualized choices as they work towards permanent housing. Having residents involved in governance, self responsibility, and self-directed goal setting has proven highly successful in other Tiny House villages across the country, and helps each person develop the tools necessary for managing their lives through empowerment and self-determination.
Will residents pay rent?
No rent is required, but for those who have jobs or other resources, contributions from their resources will be
encouraged. Any payments made by a resident will be held by Sanctuary Village on the resident’s behalf and paid out to the resident at the end of their stay. [CONFIRM SV CAN DO THIS; ANY LEGAL COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS OR IMPEDIMENTS.]
Will there be staff on site?
Yes. There will be staff on site at all times to support the needs of residents. Additionally, case managers will report on a regular basis to Sanctuary Village staff to share updates on resident activities and plans.
What is the cost of each Tiny House?
Each Tiny House costs approximately $35,000, including construction, delivery, site installation, and electrical hook-up. [CONFIRM WHETHER THIS INCLUDES THE COST OF THE FIT OUT PER ABOVE]
When will Sanctuary Village break ground?
We anticipate being able to break ground at the Holmesburg Harmony Village site and for the City to begin its
infrastructure work in Spring 2024 (e.g., electrical, storm water drainage, house foundations, sidewalks, and renovations to existing structures). Our goal is placement of the Tiny Houses starting in June or shortly thereafter.
Who will be responsible for maintenance at the village?
For the Holmesburg Harmony Village site, the City of Philadelphia (which maintains ownership of the property) will be responsible for maintenance of the property. Sanctuary Village will be responsible for maintenance of the Tiny Houses. Sanctuary Village will work collaboratively with City officials to ensure all maintenance needs are met. [CONFIRM DETAILS ON WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT]
How Can I Support Sanctuary Village’s work?
Can I make an online donation?
Yes! We encourage and value any financial support you can give us. Visit our DONATE page on our website, where you may make a donation to support our work.
Are there other ways to support Sanctuary Village?
Yes! Sanctuary Village welcomes volunteers to support our important work. In addition, we welcome your participation in fundraising events throughout the year whether as a volunteer or donor. Importantly, we also are in the midst of raising additional funds to support Sanctuary Village and our Tiny House initiatives. This includes building our volunteer committees, as well as offering commemorative recognition and other donor opportunities.
For more information about how you might get involved, sign up here and we will reach out to you.
I would like to stay current on Sanctuary Village’s progress. Do you have a mailing list?
Sign up here for our periodic newsletter and other updates.
Where can I find more information about the problem of lack of housing?
Here is a site that provides helpful information: https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/
Who can I contact at Sanctuary Village for more specific information?
You are welcome to contact [INSERT CONTACT] at [INSERT EMAIL]. Alternatively, visit our CONTACT page on our website.
Thank you for helping make Sanctuary Village a reality!
Sanctuary Village is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity. All contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. The official registration and financial information of Sanctuary Village may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free within Pennsylvania, 1(800) 732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.