It Takes A Community To Raise A Village

4:00 pm, Room 220 - Access and Equity

Andrew Heben, SquareOne Villages/Serina Holmstrom, Susan Russell, Denise Henrikson and Susannah Hale, EcoThrive Housing

Tiny House Villages have emerged as a practical response to homelessness and housing insecurity. A growing number of community-based initiatives have formed to bring them to fruition, yet these unconventional projects continue to face significant barriers in the development process.

Andrew Heben will tell the story of SquareOne Villages, the nonprofit behind Opportunity Village and Emerald Village in Eugene, Oregon. Opportunity Village opened in 2013 as a transitional micro-housing pilot project for otherwise homeless individuals and couples. After five years of operation without any major issues, the community has provided strong precedent for how cities can implement simple solutions that can greatly improve the quality of life for people who are otherwise unsheltered. The next iteration, Emerald Village, aimed to create a permanent tiny house village affordable to people with extremely low-incomes. The community includes 22 unique dwellings ranging from 160 to 300 square feet in size, and is the result of a broad collaboration amongst architects and builders—nearly 200 local businesses contributed labor or materials to the project!

SquareOne has also developed a Toolbox with resources for helping groups overcome barriers to development, and start similar successful projects in their town. Serina Holmstrom will share the story of one of these emerging organizations, EcoThrive, which seeks to build a network of beautiful, thriving resilient villages in King County.

EcoThrive Housing is building a pilot Resilient Village in King County with, not for, an equity partner organization to co-create a beautiful housing model that is ecologically, economically, socially and culturally sustainable. We are researching and developing a replicable framework

that can be adapted and scaled to meet the needs of changing economies and a changing climate.

Operating under a community land trust and limited equity housing co-op, the Resilient Village model demonstrates a community ownership framework that is a thriving alternative to traditional affordable housing. All development costs are raised up front so future rents will cover ongoing expenses and resident equity shares, with remaining profit allocated to building future villages.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand different types of tiny house villages & common components of successful tiny house villages

  • Learn how shared-equity homeownership models can create truly affordable housing & Engage in upcoming opportunities to build a Resilient Village in King County

  • Learn how to engage prospective residents and surrounding community in the development process

  • Identify parameters of ecological, economic, social and cultural resiliency in the built environment

Andrew Heben has a background in urban planning and is the author of Tent City Urbanism: From Self-Organized Camps to Tiny House Villages. The ideas within his book have been put into action through the co-founding of SquareOne Villages, a nonprofit creating self-managed communities of cost-effective tiny homes for people in need of housing. As project director at SquareOne, he has overseen the development of three unique tiny home communities in Lane County, Oregon and has consulted with dozens of other groups looking to start similar projects in their town. Andrew also recently designed and built his own 384 square foot home.

Serina Holmstrom spent five years as a counselor for at-risk youth and families before pursuing residential interior design. Serina is enthusiastic about bringing her passion for social justice, background in direct service, and aesthetic gifts to create community-designed spaces that balance beauty and function.

Susan Russell is an artist, Real Change vendor and housing activist, having spent 8+ years living on the streets of Seattle/King County. She is the requested keynote speaker and was awarded the 2018 Real Change ChangeMaker Award for her work bringing people together through art, compassion, love and action.

Denise Henrikson learned that listening deeply to those most impacted can shed light on program strengths and areas of need during her career as a policy analyst and program evaluator. These insights inform her work to build cultural resilience in preparation for a changing climate by convening strategic partnerships that enable each member to better meet their mission and serve their populations.

Susannah Hale is VP of Philanthropy at Forterra, a valued 29+ year organization that has conserved over 275,000 acres of keystone lands in the Pacific Northwest. Recently, Susannah facilitated a grassroots campaign with tribes and community members to secure over 4,000 acres along the North Cascades. She is eager to bring her skills in fundraising and land acquisition to this project.