Developed by Denver Homeless Out Loud (advisory members and potential village residents) Amended and fleshed out by Beloved Community Village Residents
There will be three inter-related levels of governance within the village:
-The Village Council
-The Advisory Council
-Colorado Village Collaborative
The village itself has developed a memorandum of understanding between the Village, the Advisory Council, Beloved Community and the landlord, The Urban Land Conservancy.
Furthermore, additional support has come from our community partners, Bayaud Enterprises, and others
It is only through the harmonizing of interests, through voluntary co-operation, through love, respect, and reciprocal tolerance, by persuasion, by example, and by the contagion of benevolence, that we can and ought to triumph.
We believe that we can never achieve the combined well-being of all – which is the aim of all our efforts – except through a free understanding among men, and without forcibly imposing the will of any upon any others.
Resident Decision-Making Processes
The Village is self-governed by the residents through a Village Council, with management and assistance provided by an Advisory Council composed of selected individuals who wish to help guide the project and who may have the professional and technical skills needed for the project to be successful. Furthermore, The Beloved Community, a local church functions as a support committee and fiscal agent for the community.
The Village Council--Composed of all Village residents who have lived at the Village for a
week or more.
Regular Village Council meetings are held weekly, and all residents are expected to attend. Important decisions are made at these meetings, and if you are not at the meeting, you cannot influence the decision at the time of a vote. At these meetings, residents decide how the community is organized within the framework of the basic guidelines. Teams are formed to ensure the work of the Village is accomplished. At the meetings, the Village Council will also select new residents as openings occur.
Village Council responsibilities include:
- Day to day Village operation and immediate decision-making, including implementation of established Village agreements, guidelines, and procedures aimed at maintaining safety and peace throughout the Village. (For this purpose, a Safety Implementation Team with rotating membership will be established.)
Principles, values, standards, or criteria of behavior that guide the decisions, procedures and systems of the village in a way that (a) contributes to the welfare of its collaborators, and (b) respects the rights of all collaborators affected by its operations.”
- an ethical code that outlines acceptable behavior within the village.
- some set of criteria whereby an outside Collaborative body can be called in
- a means of ensuring that outside Collaborative body does not become involved unless and until these criteria are satisfied.
- a process for registering and resolving grievances and for achieving closure regarding them.
- the power to discipline its own members, ranging from fines and censure up to and including Expulsion.
- a means of selecting or electing Spokesperson/agent.
- Choosing and welcoming new Villagers
- Managing all visitors, including media, neighborhood, community organizations, government Officials(including law enforcement),
- Assigning roles for day to day Village work, projects, and construction
- Street outreach/new resident connection
- Village design, layout, and appearance
- Visioning and brainstorming for the Village
- Periodically appointing point persons to meet with the Advisory Council, Beloved Community, Urban Land Conservancy, and other outside agencies, as representatives of the community.
The Advisory Council--Composed of Villagers, long-term collaborators from the broader
community, and selected interested community members.
Advisory Council responsibilities include:
- Long-term visioning
- Legal support/maintaining liability insurance
- Support in acquiring Village supplies
- Fund raising and financial management
- Volunteer recruitment, training, and coordination
- Creating and maintaining documents, such as intake and evaluation forms
- Setting up and maintaining necessary infrastructure, such as hookups to public utilities
- Relationships with media and with governmental (including law enforcement), neighborhood and other community organizations
- Conflict resolution when Village Council is unable to reach resolution
- Street outreach
- Ongoing program record-keeping and evaluation
Beloved Community’s Responsibilities include:
- General support including participating as permanent members of the Advisory Council and all the responsibilities thereof.
- Operating as the Fiscal Agent for the Village
Bayaud Enterprises Role
- Facilitating voluntary resource navigator support for residents of the village
- Weekly visits by the Laundry Truck
- Possible Denver Day works implementation
Denver Homeless Outreach Collaborative Role
- Connecting residents to additional services and resources on a voluntary basis as need (on call).
Denver Food Rescue’s Role
- Organizing and facilitating a weekly free grocery program for the village and surrounding neighbors
- Connecting residents to additional benefits on a voluntary basis as needed (SNAP, RTD Passes, etc.)
The basic non-negotiable Community Agreements include:
- No violence
- No weapons
- No theft
- No illegal drugs or paraphernalia
- No persistent disruptive behavior
- No discriminatory or oppressive behavior
- Participation by all members in the operation and governance of the Village
Agreement Follow through Processes
Most violations of community agreement will be dealt with by the Village Council and Advisory Council (if deemed necessary) through a multi-step process listed below. However, if the violation is physical and sexual violence or destruction of property, this is means for immediate expulsion from the village. Expelling someone from the village for these extreme safety violations requires the agreement of 3 village council members. any other expulsion requires both Village council, Advisory council, and Beloved community – except in the case of those violations listed above-(physical or sexual violence or destruction of property.)
All other violations, which are persistent will be dealt with through a multi-step process.
- Step 1. If a community agreement is broken, villagers are responsible for calling each other out and remind them of the community agreements on a personal one on one basis.
- Step 2. If a violation continues and no resolution can be made among community members, it is the responsibility of the community present to decide whether it is necessary to ask the person committing a violation to leave immediately. If this is determined, 4 community members must agree to ask the person to leave until the next community council meeting. Those asked to leave may not return unless they get approval from the community council.
- Step 3. At the following community council meeting after a violation has occurred, if the issue remains unresolved, or a person wishes to come back to the village after being kicked out, the issue will be brought to the council and all active members of the community council will decide how to respond to the violation or concern.
- Step 4. If the Advisory Council deems it necessary and is requested by the village council (using criteria in place) to intervene because an issue cannot be resolved by the residents themselves, the advisory council will address it at the following meeting and choose whatever action is appropriate to take. The Advisory Council may choose to call an irregular meeting for the purposes of dealing with time pressing concerns which are not resolved by the village council.
Safety and Welcoming
The Village will have a secure point of entry and exit staffed around the clock by a Safety Team composed of trained residents or volunteers. All residents who wish to take part in the Safety Team will be encouraged to do so. Team members will rotate through shifts and will be expected to complete all shifts as assigned. All visitors will be required to sign in at the front gate and be escorted by a resident. All Visitors and Guests must adhere to the community agreement. Those on duty will patrol both within the Village and the surrounding area to ensure a safe environment.
Safety Team members will be expected to treat all residents and guests with respect, understanding, and consistently holding to agreements. Doing this job does not give that person the authority or justification to treat people meanly or make arbitrary decisions about how community agreements are followed. The safety person’s role is to welcome residents and guests and be aware and ready to respond to issues which arise within the framework of the community agreements. In the case of emergency or inquires about the village Please call Rev. Cole.
Each village resident is expected to contribute a minimum of ________ hours a week to the maintenance and governance of the village. The work requirements will be discussed and determined at weekly Village Council meetings, and will include the following:
- General maintenance
- Safety Committee
- Welcoming guests and managing visitors
- Trash collection, disposal and clean up
- Donation Coordination
Residency Selection Process
The first residents will be considered if they meet the following: Resident criteria:
- Currently without a home and in need of a home
- Ability and commitment to follow community agreements
- Have attended at least one meeting about the space
Beyond meeting the basic criteria listed above, priority will be given to the following:
- People with less options for places to survive the winter (including couples, LGBTQ
- People, people with pets
- People working weird hours
- People who are most excited about and committed to this community
All initial potential residents who meet these criteria will be invited to come to an interview with advisory council members including other potential residents. A day will be set for interviews where all will gather and talk with each potential resident about why they need this space, why they will be a good fit for this situation, if they are down to follow the agreements and be part of this community and other relevant issues. Potential residents will leave and everyone else in the advisory council will remain discuss the best choice for the first potential residents.
At the end of the interview meeting, the advisory council will vote in __# of initial residents.
There will be a 10 day test period for these initial residents where they must follow community agreement including doing at least 10 hours of village work before they officially become a member of the village council with voting power.
After the initial residents have been chosen all future residents will be chosen by the Village Council. When people move out and openings come up potential residents still must met the Resident criteria of being currently without a home and in need of a home and able to commit to following through on the community agreements. Potential residents first come to a meeting and express interest in living in the village. After expressing interest at this meeting, they will be introduced to the community agreements and agree to it before going any further. If there is an opening they will than have a 7 day test period when they must do at least 4 hours of village work and attend meetings. At the end of the 7 day test period The Village Council will interview the potential resident and vote on whether they should be a resident. This decision is based on interest, need, ability/commitment to follow village agreements, follow through on work during test period and the overall diversity of the village.
Advisory Council Selection Process
Potential advisory council members first come to a meeting and express interest in being on the advisory council. After expressing interest at this meeting, they will have a one month test period when they must do at least 10 hours of village work and attend meetings. At the end of the month test period the existing active village advocacy group (including DHOL and ASAP members) will interview the potential advisory council member and vote on whether they should be included. This decision is based on interest, follow through on work during test month, respect for leadership of residents, the overall diversity of the council and skills had and needed by the group
Communities to be included in advisory council
-Village Residents (Rotating)
-ASAP members (probably interfaith and maybe one other)
-Beloved Community members
The advisory council must include the following communities…
-At least half of council must be currently or formerly homeless
-Communities of color
-Women and men
(detailed role descriptions will be developed as the village develops)
-Welcoming and Safety
-Media, Police, City, Neighborhood, and Beloved Community Sponsor point people
Advisory Council and/or Residents
-Village supply coordination
-Volunteer recruitment, training and coordination
-Media, City, and Neighborhood point people