How does someone become a resident?
Avivo Village receives individuals through a closed referral process and is designed specifically for people living unsheltered and not using emergency shelters. We are working with community street outreach teams on referring unsheltered individuals who have been long-time street outreach clients. Adult Shelter Connect manages a separate referral pool for Avivo Village as it works with street outreach teams.
What restrictions might limit eligibility?
Individuals must be experiencing unsheltered homelessness and are not using the emergency shelter system. Avivo Village has a low-barrier shelter approach. One of our primary priorities is safety. It’s really important that everyone is safe to themselves and to the community.
How are the homes secured?
Each home has a door with lock and key. They are also lockable from the inside. A resident can leave their tiny house knowing their belongings are safe and secure. Various staff teams are present, 24/7 — resident advocates, mental health professionals and security staff. We also have a double, secured entrance system to keep residents safe as they come and go.
What are the tiny homes like?
Each personal dwelling is slightly different and made up of four stud walls, ceiling, and roof. There is a door, window, bed, desk, and shelving. Each have electricity with overhead lighting and outlets and ceiling sprinkler for fire safety.
Is there a time limit to a resident’s stay?
Each person has a different pathway and speed to their process of finding permanent housing. Residents stay an average of 100 days. We give people time to decompress, establish goals, connect with services, and plan for permanent housing. We support people as they move to the next best thing as quickly as they would like.
How are meals and other amenities handled?
Meals are prepackaged and delivered by a food vendor. We offer microwaves to warm food; however, we do not offer a kitchen to cook personal meals. There are shower and bathroom facilities as well as free use of washing machines and dryers to do laundry.
What does low-barrier mean?
We accept people as they are and provide a warm place of shelter for those who have no other option. An individual might have no I.D. or have a pet and they will be admitted. They can bring their stuff, get their basic needs met, and be welcomed by non-judgmental services.
What is your approach to substance use at Avivo Village?
We operate a harm-reduction model. We meet people who use substances “where they’re at.” We will work with people on an individual basis and focus on a spectrum of approaches — safer use, managed use, and abstinence — whatever reflects the individual’s or community’s needs. We approach everyone respectfully and nonjudgmentally.
What exact COVID-19 precautions are taken?
The Avivo Village concept was designed to be COVID-19 aware with each guest having their own tiny home. We have a very robust cleaning and sanitizing schedule. All staff are required to wear masks and maintain social distancing. We provide COVID-19 testing on site. Individuals may quarantine if necessary in their personal dwellings. There is ample room for distancing in the indoor community, including an indoor courtyard and picnic tables.
What does “Avivo” mean?
The tiny house shelter community was named after our organization Avivo. “Avivo” is comprised of the root word “vivo” which means “to be fully alive.” We believe that our name helps tell the story of our mission which is to increase well-being through recovery and career advancement while working to end homelessness. We believe everyone deserves the chance to live well and work well.
How is Avivo Village funded?
Avivo Village is funded through state, county, and city sources as well as support from foundations, corporations, and individuals. The estimated cost is $8 million for the two-year, pilot project; Avivo Village opened in December of 2020. Funding includes CARES Act support from the City of Minneapolis, the State of Minnesota, and Hennepin County. Support also comes from fee for services like diagnostic assessments, mental health therapy, treatment services, and Housing Support. Avivo actively raises financial support from public and private sources for operations.
Can I volunteer? Or how can I help?
First, everyone can help by learning and talking about the issue of unsheltered homelessness and creating awareness. People can also financially support Avivo and its work by making a gift online. To explore unique ways to volunteer, you may reach out to Volunteer Services Director Brittany Biggers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have additional questions, please reach out to Kim Sheagren at email@example.com.