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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding Sanctuary Village (SV) and Homelessness

What is Sanctuary Village?

  • Sanctuary Village is a non-profit that incorporated in 2019, formed its Board of Directors in June 2019, and obtained 501c3 status in March 2020. Our vision is to build a small, self-governing village of Tiny Houses to serve as transitional housing for chronically homeless individuals who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 infection/complications. This will offer the security and stability to obtain needed services for a better quality of life and a move into permanent housing.

  • Sanctuary Village is not a religious organization, but we work in partnership with the Welcome Church, a church without walls that serves people experiencing chronic street homelessness in Center City.

  • We also have the support of other faith-based organizations including: the Lutheran Synod of Southeastern PA, the Presbyterian Presbytery of Philadelphia and the Episcopal Diocese.

 

Why this model?

  • Sanctuary Village’s goal is to build a tiny house village with 28 houses, and over (an estimated) twelve to eighteen months, offer  whatever social services are needed for the residents to move on to permanent housing.

  • We are following the model of tiny house villages being used in Seattle, Washington since 2015. This model is so successful – and cost efficient – that seventeen tiny house villages now exist in the Seattle area and more are planned. Residents typically move on to permanent housing in under a year. The ongoing success of the Seattle model is demonstrated by the large number of people (more than 70%) who do not return to the street.

  • Similar to other tiny house villages, Sanctuary Village’s planned tiny houses will not have plumbing or kitchens, to keep costs down.  The communal kitchen, bathrooms and laundry facilities, will be a short walk away from the housed, and serve to provide those functions as well as shared spaces where residents can spend time together, as they wish.

 

The Tiny House Village

 

Where is the tiny house village?

  • In Northeast Philadelphia, at 7979 State Road in the Holmesburg neighborhood, on city-owned land.

 

How big are the tiny houses?

  • They are planned to be 8 feet x 12 feet with an additional four-foot wide porch in the front.

 

How will the residents be identified?

  • Referrals from the Office of Homeless Services (OHS), and from the Welcome Church, who work with people in the homeless community. The village of tiny houses will serve older (55 and up) women, an especially vulnerable group.

 

What protections will there be for COVID?

  • We will make sure all residents are vaccinated.

 

What services will be provided for the residents?

  1. On site case manager.

  2. Transportation.

  3. Groceries/meals.

  4. Health care.

  5. Will arrange for various groups of volunteers to visit residents and provide help with eg, job searches. 

 

Is there a contract for residents?

  • Yes, we have a contract for residents to sign and abide by. The contract will require residents to agree not to be violent or have illegal drugs or alcohol on site. A breach of the rules can mean eviction with no questions asked, as with any city shelter.

 

What will governance look like?

  • Sanctuary Village plans to assist residents in establishing governance for the Village, with residents themselves filling leadership roles. This has been proven to work well in the Seattle tiny house villages. Allowing people to take responsibility shows they can and do take responsibility.

 

Will residents pay rent?

  • No, but if they can afford to pay a certain amount per month, we will bank this for residents to use toward their permanent homes when they are ready to leave the village.

 

What staff will be on site?

  • The case manager will report on a regular basis to an SV staff member, with updates on how the residents are doing. SV staff members will be at the site around the clock  to handle any issues that may arise, and report when repairs or maintenance are needed, as well as on how the residents are doing overall.

 

What kind of security will there be?

  • There is a fence around the property and 24-hour secured/gated access.

 

What will each tiny house consist of? Cost?

  • $20,000 counting all construction and related costs (moving the houses onto the site; hooking up the electricity, etc)

 

What is the (physical) plan/layout for the village?

 

 

 

When do you anticipate breaking ground?

We anticipate having our building permit in mid-2023 and breaking ground shortly thereafter.

Long-term/Oversight

 

How will you assist residents to find permanent housing?

  • This is part of the services that will be provided to our residents.

 

What maintenance will there be and who will pay for it?

  • Ongoing maintenance will be provided and paid for by Sanctuary Village for the structures and by the City for the property and community building, which they own.

How to help

 

Can I donate online?

 

How can I volunteer to help?

  • Sign up on our website and we’ll be in touch.

 

Where can I find information about homelessness?

Here is one suggestion: https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/

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