Community First Village provides supportive place to stay for the homeless

KXAN Staff - AUSTIN (KXAN) -- A local non-profit organization hopes to end homelessness by giving more people a permanent place to stay and surrounding them with a "supportive community."

KXAN photojournalist Frank Martinez introduced us to people who live inside the Community First Village, located in east Travis County on Hog Eye Road, and explains how they plan to expand.

"This is a ginormous deal to us because first we're dedicating what we call the crown jewel of the crown that we've been building out here in the Community First Village," said Alan Graham, CEO, president and co-founder of Mobile Loaves & Fishes.

Peri Verdino-Gates, communications coordinator for the organization, said, "Right now we have about 100 that are living here now that are formerly homeless. We also have folks that were missionals, or missionaries, that have chosen to live here. They pay their own way, obviously, to live here. We have a CEO of a Fortune 100 company that live out here as missionaries and then we just have an RN that lives out here."

As for Gary Floyd, a formerly homeless farmer, he looks to everything he produces in the community instead of the negative person he used to be. "I feed all of my people, I feed 180 people right now with all of my vegetables. I'm really proud to be a farmer too, I enjoy it. I know I'm doing something good in life now."

The expansion plan also calls for a downtown food commissary run by people experiencing homelessness, giving them a chance to sell things like ice cream or drinks instead of relying on panhandling.

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