Group works to raise funds to build RV park for homeless - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Group works to raise funds to build RV park for homeless

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It's not your typical model home or even neighborhood. This one is designed to help the chronically homeless get off the streets of Austin.

"This community will be different. It will be like a KOA but on steroids because we have so many different amenities," explained Alan Graham about his dream. He's the founder of Mobile Loaves and Fishes, a non-profit helping the homeless.

Three months ago Travis County Commissioners approved a site plan for the non-profit to build the Community First Village on 27 acres near Hog Eye Road and Decker Lane. Now, the group is working raise the money for it. The total cost of the project is $6.5 million. More than half of that has already been raised through donations.

Graham said he's ready for this project to happen.

"It's emotional. They want to do this now. Most will point to the $90 guest cottage and say 'I can do this right now," Graham said

He's talking about the rent. Housing options range from small canvas cottages to campers costing from $90 to $375 a month. Residents must work and pay rent.

"We want to empower people into a purposeful cultivating lifestyle of work," Graham said.

"The people who live here will be able to achieve that dignity by earning income and working to pay for what they get," said Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

The Community First Villiage will have a garden, a worship center and medical facilities for mental and physical screenings.

"What Alan is doing will be the most impactful thing that's happened in this arena in a long time," said Tim League, founder of Alamo Drafthouse. League is teaming up with the non-profit on the project. The park will include a bed and breakfast and drive-in theater which will be open to the public.

"It offers a sustainable venture by having a commercial venue you're offering jobs for the people who live at the Community First project," said League.

The park could reduce the number of chronically homeless by 20 percent and will serve around 200.

Some of Austin's homeless could have a home as soon as the beginning of 2015. The group hopes to start construction in April of 2014.

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