JOPLIN, Mo. — A nonprofit is getting help from the community to get up and running.
Vita Nova Village is raising funds to build several transitional homes.
“Vita Nova Village was born out of the idea of creating something to provide the next step to homeless people once they were ready to leave the shelters,” said Rhonda Thompson, Co-founder of Vita Nova Village.
Saturday night Vita Nova Village hosted a chili and pie tasting fundraiser at the Joplin Greenhouse and Garden Center.
“Our plan is to provide targeted training and education along with their own private living space their own individual home with no connecting walls. So they can go in and lock their door at night and like we do every night be at home,” said Thompson.
The village will consist of six, one bedroom homes that are 430 square feet.
“It sounds super tiny, but when you walk in one you would be amazed at how spacious they look and how homey they feel,” said Thompson.
Four Joplin residents came up with the idea last fall as a way to help curb the homeless population.
“I was homeless for a few years in this town and I was on drugs for a long time and I was lucky. I was able to go to a welding school and be able to utilize that program. I’m just hoping we can pull some of these other people that are less fortunate and have the same opportunity to get where I’m today,” said William Hillegus, Co-founder of Vita Nova Village.
The nonprofit is looking for several acres to build the village along with volunteers and sponsors to build each $35,000 home.
“There is a way out. And we will help to show you the way. It’s really up to them is to how much they want to pursue it. But we will show them and give them the tools to hopefully never be homeless again,” said Hillegus.