SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Eden Village Number Two is now one step closer to becoming a reality.
A group of volunteers was at the new site today.
About 75 volunteers were at the new Brower Street location. They were landscaping, building picnic tables and clearing brush.
Jerome Conroy has volunteered with Eden Village before.
“I’ve been doing this for about two years,” Conroy said. “I started at the first Eden Village and was working with the carpenters. Then I started painting and fixing and patching, and doing routine maintenance.”
Conroy said the work is like the first Eden Village.
“It starts out as a piece of dirt, and over time with work and process it turns into a place for people to live,” Conroy said.
Dr. David Brown, Eden Village co-founder said the volunteers are what makes this work. Not only is it a great experience for the volunteers, he says, but it also introduces them to a segment of the population that most people ignore: Homeless people.
Brown already has a timeline for community number two.
“Our goal is to have this finished before winter, this year, so we can pull 24 more people off the street,” Brown said.
Combined with the first Eden Village, if number two meets its timeline, 55 homeless people in Springfield will be off the streets before 2020 ends.
“Our target group to put in these homes are the chronically homeless who have disabilities,” Brown said. “In Springfield, Missouri, that number is around 175. So in order to house all of those, we need to build, probably, three more Eden Villages besides this one. So that would be our long term goal over the next six years.”
Brown said this model is being caught on by different communities.
“We’re getting calls almost weekly from different communities around the United States that are interested in what we’re doing because we have a solution,” Brown said.
Those calls certainly weren’t for nothing.
Brown tells us there’s now an Eden Village in the works in Wilmington, North Carolina.
He envisions at some point, Eden Villages will be spread out across the country.