Emerald Village is an affordable tiny house community being built in to provide sustainable housing to people with very low-incomes. Fourteen of the twenty-two tiny homes have been completed, and are already occupied by their first residents.
Part of the residential site is tucked behind a cafe and auto repair shop. This creates a long stretch of blank wall. The houses may be tiny (160 - 300 square feet), but this canvas is BIG (105 feet long by 12-and-a-half feet high to be precise), and we intend to cover it with a beautiful mural. The theme for the mural was developed by the residents themselves: One Village, Many Hearts
We're looking to raise $5,500 to cover the costs of the mural, which we hope to be a landmark feature that will bring hope and inspiration to Emerald Village for years to come, one person at a time.
All donors will be invited to a special event at the village when we unveil the completed mural. Help us reach our goal by visiting our crowdfunding campaign.
The initial residents of Emerald Village were selected before the first shovel was even sunk into the ground. As a result, they've been active participants in shaping the vision for this groundbreaking community. Residents have met monthly—and more recently weekly—for over a year now to begin to build the community and make key decision about how the village will be operated and managed.
One of our first resident meetings involved a brainstorm of what we wanted the village to look and feel like. This has provided a foundation for how to approach this mural project. Watch below as Emerald Village residents define their mission:
In order to design and implement the mural, we’re working with Kari Johnson, a local artist based right here in the Whiteaker neighborhood, chosen by our residents. Kari will continue to meet with the residents and develop up to three concept sketches based on their feedback. We'll keep our crowdfunding page updated as the process evolves.
Kari has already painted a number of murals throughout the neighborhood (such as the one pictured below) that have become beacons of pride and helped shape the community's identity. She's also a long-time member of the East Blair Housing Co-op, which has a mission of serving low-income residents, and has provided critical inspiration to the organizational structure of Emerald Village.
Unlike most affordable housing projects today, Emerald Village residents will not simply be renters. Instead, they will be members of a housing cooperative with a share in the ownership of the village. Under this model, the residents form a cooperative, and the co-op enters into a lease agreement with SquareOne Villages, a non-profit organization which owns the village’s physical assets and retains title to the underlying land, with the stated intent of retaining these assets as affordable housing in perpetuity.
Monthly payments at Emerald Village will be $200 to $300 per month, which is intended to cover all operating costs—including utilities, maintenance, and all other operating costs. Each household also pays $50 per month towards their membership share in the co-op.
This arrangement creates a unique form of shared equity homeownership. As a cooperative, Emerald Village residents are able to acquire a modest asset (a share of the co-op) without having to seek conventional bank financing as individual households. And like other co-ops, residents benefit from shared resources, self-management, and operating at-cost. Initial residents also put in at least 50 hours of sweat equity during the development phase.
As the landowner, SquareOne is able to ensure the village remains affordable over the long-term through its lease with the cooperative. At the same time, this partnership helps ensure the longer-term viability of the co-op. SquareOne is able to serve in an advisory role for the co-op, providing support in the form of technical assistance, training, and leadership development. And due to its sustained involvement in the project, SquareOne can serve as a “mission steward” for the co-op during periods of leadership change and member turnover.
Over one million dollars has already been raised to bring this innovative vision to life—including in-kind donations from well over 100 local businesses, organizations, and institutions. This is an opportunity to help us raise $5,500 to cover the costs of a mural that will bring hope and inspiration to our villagers for years to come.