Goals

  1. Move participants completely out of poverty (3-5 years) through a combined process of
    1. affordable permanent supportive housing,
    2. a system of care,
    3. learning to eating healthy, and
    4. a wealth building program that leads to prosperity that is specifically designed for each individual or family.
  2. Increase the community and social support of participants so they can more effetively
    1. reconcile broken relationships,
    2. receive treatment for additctions and mental and physical health issues and
    3. learn how to overcome other barriers that prevent them from thriving.
  3. Raise awareness in the community of barriers faced by homeless and at-risk of homelessness people living in deep-poverty.

Target Population

500 individuals and families experiencing homelessness and deep poverty in San Angelo who are motivated to leave poverty.

Affordable Permanent Supportive Housing

ARKcentric Community Housing

The ARKcentric Community Housing program will build 90 homes (over five years, schedule can accelerate if there is sufficient demand) on 10 acres of land (must first purchase land) with full kitchen, bathroom, sleeping and living area, rent/mortgage at $0.50/sq.ft/month, built in six cohousing villages, each with 15 homes and a community center. A peer counselor will reside in one of the 15 homes full-time. ARKcentric homes are 1 BR (320 sq.ft.) duplex home and 1 BR (448 sq.ft.), 2 BR (520 sq.ft.) and 3 BR (640 sq.ft.) single detached homes.

Cohousing communities are intentional, collaborative villages created with a little ingenuity. They bring together the value of private homes with the benefits of more sustainable living. That means residents actively participate in the design and operation of their neighborhoods, and share common facilities and good connections with neighbors. All in all, they stand as innovative and sustainable answers to today’s poverty and social problems.

The ARKcentric Community Housing program is based on the concept of cohousing – an intentional community of single family homes clustered around shared space. The shared space of each village features a common house, which includes a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational space. Shared outdoor space includes parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. Community activities feature regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays. Neighbors gather for parties, games, movies, or other events. Cohousing makes it easy to form support groups, organize child and elder care, and carpool.

Each village is planned to keep cars to the periphery, which promotes interacting with neighbors and increases safety for playing children. Shared green space is also a key feature – whether for gardening, playing, or socializing. A final key feature is the common house – the “living room” of eacg village.

Estimated Costs:

Purchase Land: $135,000 10 acres of land
Build a village: $449,052 includes15 homes and a community center
Total cost for 8 villages and land: $3,592,416

System of Care

ARKcentric System of Care

The ARKcentric System of Care includes assertive community treatment coupled with a harm reduction approach. Our system of care will be for a variable length of time at different intervals, but will likely be long-term, if not lifelong. Participants who are willing to participate, are capable of participating in treatment and who, if afforded supportive services, can maintain both employment and housing. Participants may be able to leave components of the system of care for a period of time, but will remain more stable if the least intrusice case management is maintained. Participant’s resources and competencies will be enhanced or supported at a level that enables them to maintain and sustain permanent, safe and secure housing, employment, and initiate a wealth building strategy with no time limits or restrictions.

Assertive Community Treatment

We encourage participants to define their own needs and goals and, if the participant so wishes, immediately provide a home of the participants ’ own without any prerequisites for psychiatric treatment or sobriety. In addition to a home, participants are offered treatment, support, and other services by the program’s Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team. ACT is a well defined community based interdisciplinary team of professionals that includes social workers, nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, and vocational counselors and substance abuse counselors who are available to assist participants 7 days a week 24 hours a day.

ACT programs that combine a participant-driven philosophy with integrated dual diagnosis treatment based on a harm-reduction approach positively affect residential stability and do not increase substance use or psychiatric symptoms. Although housing and treatment are closely linked, they are considered separate domains, and participants in the program may accept housing and refuse clinical services altogether without consequences for their housing status.

Harm-Reduction Approach

Consistent with the principles of participants choice, we will use a harm-reduction approach in its clinical services to address alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and psychiatric symptoms or crises. At its core, harm reduction is a pragmatic approach that aims to reduce the adverse consequences of drug abuse and psychiatric symptoms. It recognizes that participants can be at different stages of recovery and that effective interventions should be individually tailored to each participant’s stage. Participants are allowed to make choices—to use alcohol or not, to take medication or not—and regardless of their choices they are not treated adversely, their housing status is not threatened, and help continues to be available to them.
Many systems of care supportive housing programs subscribe to the abstinence–sobriety model based on the belief that without strict adherence to treatment and sobriety, housing stability is not possible. But studies examining the model’s effectiveness report only modest results in achieving housing stability for individuals who are chronically homeless and mentally ill. Alternatively, the approach we use assumes that if individuals with psychiatric symptoms can survive on the streets then they can manage their own living situations in a healthy, safe, and affordable home. The program posits that providing a person with housing first creates a foundation on which the process of recovery can begin. Having a place of one’s own may—in and of itself—serve as a motivator for participants to refrain from drug and alcohol abuse.

Estimated Costs: $0 Services will be provided by existing support/service agencies and volunteer peer specialists will provide long-term case management.

Eating Healthy

ARKcentric Healthy Foods

The ARKcentric Healthy Foods program includes installing and maintaining a co-op aquaponics farming system that will provide a protein crop (fish) and a vegetable, herb and fruit crop (plants) for neighborhoods experiencing food insecurity. Each aquaponics farming system will produce: 11,500 leafy green plants/year (about 70 leafy green plants/day) and 1,350 lbs. whole tilapia/year (harvest just over 168 lbs./every 6 weeks). We will also implement ARKcentric Healthy Kitchens to educate communities as to how to prepare healthy meals using the fish and produce they grow.

Estimated Costs: Aquaponics System (each)$50,000

Wealth Building

ARKcentric Wealth Building

Co-op Businesses

The ARKcentric Wealth Building program will create new employee-owned businesses and other employment opportunities for participants who have multiple, serious challenges that can include lack of education, criminal records, and mental and physical health problems that aren’t severe enough to qualify for disability benefits but that can limit steady work.
Business is a recognized institution in society that brings credibility to relationships with the community as a whole. Thus business brings opportunities to influence and disciple the wider society through the relationships it brings. The individual worker becomes ‘salt and light’ to the community through the marketplace.

Proposed co-op businesses:

  • Commercial Aquaponics
  • Manufacturing/Sales – wood furniture and accessories
  • Mesquite Wood Harvesting and Sales
  • Building Deconstruction – Reclaim-Reuse-Rebuild
  • Co-op Grocery Store
  • Restaurant and Cafe
  • Janitorial Services (Patriotic Hearts’ Military Maintenance program)
  • Commercial Composting

Estimated Costs: We will seek commnity investors for each co-op business.

Financial Capability Services

Financial capability services are services open to all residents, generally focused on supporting residents to achieve housing stability, increase personal assets and access community resources through the following training and counseling:

  • Money Management
    • Financial Education
    • Financial Counseling
    • Financial Coaching
    • Asset Ownership Programs
  • Income Supports
    • Free Tax Preparation Services
    • Access to Federal and State Benefits
  • Credit and Debit
    • Credit Counseling
    • Credit Building
  • Financial Products and Services
    • Access to Safe and Affordable Financial Products
    • Incentivized Savings Programs
    • Credit Building
  • Savings and Investments
    • Incentivized Savings Programs
    • Asset Ownership Programs
  • Consumer Protection and Insurance
    • Access to Safe and Affordable Financial Products