real hope for real people


In most cities across the country, ongoing shortages of adequate shelter space and affordable permanent housing have created a growing population of people who lack permanent shelter, and who have been unable to be placed into low-income housing. The Dignity Village model strives to foster community and self-empowerment while providing sorely needed transitional housing. Although termed a “tent city” because of its origins as a social encampment, as of 2009, every individual or couple at Dignity Village lives in a 10x12 single-room, code-compliant home built by the community themselves from recycled materials.

In addition to private dwellings and a common living room area, the Village provides basic services for up to 60 people every night.

Among the services offered by Dignity Village for their residents are:
    • Showers
    • Sanitary facilities (Port-o-lets)
    • Private and communal food and flower gardens
    • Communal cooking and refrigeration facilities
    • Emergency transportation
    • Access to education
    • Access to counseling
    • Access to television (limited)
    • Distribution of donated food, personal items and construction materials
    • Internet access
    • Weekly community meetings
    • On-site veterinary and medical care on a scheduled basis by volunteer doctors and nurses
    • Access to prescription medication assistance
    • Rudimentary first aid
    • Access to telephones
    • Job network and access to resume assistance

    Dignity Village is much more than a service provider. The Village creates systemic change by empowering homeless people to assume leadership, educational and activist roles in the Village. The Village functions as a dynamic self-help environment that provides a participatory framework for supporting each other, while simultaneously encouraging individual residents to more effectively help themselves at a personal level. Unlike typical shelters, couples and pets are welcome at Dignity Village, and community is fostered democratically through self-governance and Village participation, termed “sweat equity” by Villagers. Their participation and common work builds community and relationships that provide mutual support as they share stories, experiences and skills in a battle against the harsh experiences of homelessness.