SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- On the day of its opening, Eden Village saw a crowd of hundreds.
As the visitors toured the grounds, they made their way in and out of the site’s 14 tiny houses. None of them though were as happy to be there as Tommy Yarberry.
Tommy is the first person to move into Eden Village, making this the first day he’s had a bed of his own in three years.
“You lose hope sometimes,” he says of being on the streets. “It’s not sunk in yet. It’s incredibly hard. For real,” he adds regarding his new house.
“It’s solving homelessness and not just maintaining it,” says David Brown.
David and his wife, Linda Brown, who founded Eden Village, say Tommy’s new home is divinely inspired and community accomplished. They say nearly 60 percent of the funding for the homes was privately donated.
“That tells you how big our community is,” Linda Brown says. “How giving our community is.”
“No one huge donation,” David adds.
Now, as they explained during the villages opening ceremony, they’re setting their sites on round two.
“If anybody has a vacant mobile home park that we can buy. Call us,” Linda laughs.
It’s a goal they’re certain they’ll meet, as this village (which they call the solution to Springfield’s homeless problem) and what they say will help save people like Tommy is something they say everyone wants to be a part of.
“It’s like all the sudden I’m filled,” Tommy says. “I don’t know how to describe it. I’m filled with hope. A loving feeling. I feel loved.”
“We have so many friends who are still going to be out in their tents that we want to do it again,” Linda says.
“This just takes care of a small portion,” David said.