There's No Place Like Home.
“Housing will never stop homelessness but community will.”
-Alan Graham, founder of Mobile Loaves & Fishes and Community First! Village.
Last week I had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving week at a very special place. I was brought to Community First for a retreat my friend Christina Trevino of “Emotion Leadership” was hosting. I planned to stay a night and ended up staying four. Community First! Village in Austin Texas is a beautifully orchestrated master planned community which provides affordable, permanent housing for the disabled, chronically homeless in Central Texas. More importantly however, it provides community and a sense of belonging. “We have found that the single greatest cause of homelessness is the profound catastrophic loss of family.” says Alan Graham, founder. Community First! Village not only provides a safe haven for the homeless but is also a place where the outside community can come in, volunteer, stay, interact and get to know each other. We are not all that different and at any moment in time we all have the ability to experience something life changing.
A blend of uniquely designed, tiny homes crafted by some of the most gifted architects in the world along with tastefully renovated RV’s, Community First is its own quaint, peaceful village. Amenities on the property include a community market, an art center, blacksmith forge and wood shop, a chapel, a large outdoor movie theater, a prayer labyrinth, places for worship, on-site medical facility for health screenings, walking trails, a community vegetable garden , chicken coop and a dog park. There are covered, open kitchen areas equipped with state of the art appliances for residents to come cook together and people of the outside community to come share a meal.
The daily function and maintenance of these amenities provides jobs for many of the residents. It’s a place that keeps giving.
The Community Inn, which is also on the property, and where I stayed provides overnight accommodations for the public. A mix of super cute and cozy tiny homes and trailers can be reserved through the Community First! Village’s Airbnb site.I stayed in the Blue Aggie house. (The Ruby is pictured at the top!) I spent five days walking the trails, visiting with the residents, sharing a Thanksgiving meal in the recently constructed St David’s Foundation Unity Hall and attending my friend Christina’s Leadership 4 The Human Spirit Pilot Retreat. (Check out the link to her website at the bottom of this page which I highly recommend and to learn more about other programs she has to offer for both individuals and corporate.) Workshops and retreats are just some of the events that serve to bring the outside community in. “You can’t have community without unity.” says Alan. Visit this place once and I guarantee you will want to go back.
If you are ever in the Austin area I strongly encourage you to spend a night or two at the Community First! Inn or at least come out for the afternoon walk the trails and visit. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities as well. Alan Graham has also written a book called "Welcome Homeless" available on Amazon.
I read it in a day and am giving it out as Christmas gifts. A super insightful, meaningful read with a very strong message for all of us.
Thanks for reading. This was very important to me to share.
I appreciate all of you,
For a list of upcoming events and more information about Community First! Village and the Mobile Loaves & Fishes food truck program visit:
For more information Emotion Leadership programs and workshops visit:
Visit the retreat page for more information on the upcoming Leadership 4 The Human Spirit retreat