The Village Cooperative and the Nomad Alliance in partnership with other grassroots groups, to establish partnerships with government officials and community stakeholders to build a tiny house community to tackle the problem of homelessness in Salt Lake City.
This Gofundme is a response to a great loss we had today as a woman passed away last night at our camp from what the police think is carbon dioxide poisoning. She was just trying to stay warm and now we have lost a life due to the inaction of our city to address this homeless crisis.
I, Darin Mann, in response to this crisis, created an unsheltered camp on my private residence to address the crisis with a community solution. The camp being on a private residence is a “sanctuary,” in the words of a resident, where unsheltered members don’t have to worry about where they must rest their head, the upcoming abatement, police harassment, theft, fear of leaving their things to be stolen, overcrowded and Covid-laden shelters, sexual predation and violence and can work for a permanent solution to finally lift themselves out of their economic situation. And since moving in, they have kept the Rose Park Community safer, alerting me of a break-in next door. They are good people, who deserve a helping hand in life. However, I do not want an unsheltered camp in my front yard forever.
This is a temporary response to a long term problem that requires immediate and collaborative action for a long lasting solution. Shelter must be a priority. Housing first. Everything else will follow once people feel safe, homed, and protected. We have had meetings and conversations with the Salt Lake City, County, and Utah State leadership about a solution -- and yet the solution is simple. It is clear we need to provide the shelter necessary for our unsheltered brothers and sisters to begin their lives anew. Both city officials and community organizers agree a tiny home community is imperative for the success of our people. Shelters utilizing the same airflow promote the spread of Covid, and we are not sure when this pandemic will end. It snowed today, and 89 people died living outdoors last year. A tiny house community for the previously-unsheltered will save lives. And it will promote health in ways the current abatements by the Utah Health Department are only harming. Our collective vision is a tiny home community with a space for temporary camping, coupled with urban farming and a workshop/apprenticeship space for nomads with trade skills to share their knowledge with the city, so we can adequately serve the unsheltered community. It will be a revenue generating and cooperative economy in order to be self sustaining after this first initial investment. We have identified the following needs:
Land $100,000 - 165,000 for an initial down payment in partnership with the City or County leasing us space for a heavy discount
20 Tiny homes @ $8,000 a home = $160,000 including a composting toilet for sanitation, utilizing nomad carpentry skills and- labor in exchange for a space to live, and donations of lumber and other building supplies Community
Center @ 100,000 - with showers, communal and commercial kitchen space, recreation/dance/movie area, and private offices/meeting spaces for meetings, collaborations, and to promote small business creation Workshop/Trade/Artist Space
$50,000 - a workshop space with carpentry and other tools which the community could utilize in partnership with nomads with trade skills to do things like fix tvs together, learning electrical skills, or build a table, or repair a bicycle. A separate artist space could be used by nomads in residence to bolster their creativity and small art businesses. Gardening infrastructure @
$25,000 to create a garden that can primarily be used to feed community resident coupled with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program to distribute for a nominal fee that can be used to help fund this project. A working farm could be used as a way to train unsheltered nomads in farming and help hone other job skills such as management, scheduling, sales, distribution, and landscaping.
We have seen how talented, genius, and skilled the nomads are with whom we work and live. They are often in the trades, and a jack of all skills. Creating a space where a nomad can walk outside his home to meet with a member of the community wishing to fix his TV but also learn how to do it from a nomad in the community, will bolster a union between these two disparate economic populations, promote self-respect in the nomad community because their skills are valued and appreciated, while also decreasing waste, promoting a re-use / re-cycle economy, and mitigating the need for a nomad to stress traveling for work, and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and transportation costs. One location where the previously-unsheltered are housed will allow service providers to travel to one location, without the unsheltered stumbling over clumsy public transportation services on a wild and exhausting goose chase. Creating a space where the unsheltered could feed themselves, while connecting to the land, will not only lower the costs of the city and nonprofit populations providing free food to this population, but will have tremendous mental health impacts, as gardening is proven to alleviate depression, decrease inflammation, and promote immunity. And to a community ravaged by mental health and addiction issues, this will be a saving grace.
With my background in urban farming and community organizing it is my firm belief that we can create a safer and more sustainable environment that allows for people from all walks of life to flourish and thrive together. All we have to do is create a space where people can find their sovereignty again and regain their dignity by reconnecting with nature. By taking ownership of their skills and investing back into the land, by contributing to their community, I know they will transcend their ambiguous status in our society, and reintegrate themselves as vital members of our city. Our camp has shown us this. Life happens to all of us, but let’s not continue to lose our humanity by treating the unsheltered like pests or vermin, and instead show them compassion that they are valued like any other person within the community.
If our goal is not reached we will donate the funds to an initiative that supports the goal of creating a tiny home community