Beloved Community Village is an intentional community in Denver that houses people coming off the streets. For nearly two years, the colony of tiny homes has been near the corner of 38th Avenue and Blake Street, a hop from from the first stop out of Union Station on Denver’s A-Line train. KGNU’s Rae Solomon brings us a report on its move to a new location in Globeville.
On Monday May 13 a forklift and a couple flatbed trucks descended on the Village to literally move the entire community, tiny home by tiny home, to its new site down the road in the Globeville neighborhood.
For the village residents, these houses are a lifeline – a rare chance for stability and dignity in a city where the skyrocketing cost of living has made housing unaffordable for many people. But right now they represent a logistical problem for the movers. As a worker maneuvers the forklift under the floorboards, the house, about the size of a shed, is lifted, intact, off of its foundations, driven across the site and lowered onto a waiting flatbed truck parked in the alley.
The Community supporting the village hope it will be an enduring institution. But its physical home is necessarily temporary. Zoning laws restrict the length of time a permit for the village may be granted. Also, the village doesn’t own any land. The very ground beneath the village is on loan and presently slated for development and that is why this whole relocation operation is happening today.
The village’s new site is at the corner of 44th Avenue and Pearl Street. It is only about half a mile away. About three and a half minutes by car. Across Pearl Street, to the west of the site, the neighborhood is residential. Planters and children’s toys accent a row of small houses not that much bigger than the tiny homes moving in across the street.
Mounted to the front of one of those houses, a banner reads “No Tiny Home Village in Globeville.” A reminder of the controversy the Beloved Community Village has stirred up in the new neighborhood. Many Globeville residents don’t want the village of formerly homeless people in their neighborhood. One of those new neighbors, named Loretta, watches the activity on the other side of the fence.
“They’re moving in some homes over there for the homeless people that they never did any background checks on or anything like that.
Right now I’m at that anger stage and it’s not going away from that anger. Because I feel like we’ve just been jacked around too damn many times. It makes me want to cuss, fuss and carry on and on and on. Because they haven’t gone and talked to anybody in the neighborhood that actually lives down here. I don’t know.”
When everyone is ready, the flatbed backs onto the site and the process is reversed. The four foundation blocks are forklifted into place, one at a time. Then the forklift comes for Number Nine. The house wobbles in the wind as she crosses the site.
In a few weeks, the village will be filled again with people and community. Number nine will be filled again with life. And soon enough, someone will be back on her front porch, sipping a new refreshing drink.