Who will live here?

PDF version for printing here.

The board of Occupy Madison Inc has submitted the following answers to community questions. The answer are, however, work in progress and may change as we get additional community feedback and as we find out more information. Additionally, the village will be a cooperative and the rules are primarily developed by the members of that cooperative living on the site and will be adjusted over time. If you have additional questions, please submit them below.

What type of homeless people will live here?
We have not chosen to serve any specific population. Anyone who wants to participate is welcome as long as they agree with our mission and vision, are voted into membership, put in their sweat equity hours, apply and are accepted, agree to live in our cooperative community, follow the rules of their contract, the conduct rules and shop rules.

How do you decide who will live there? Will there be an application process?
Yes. Here is the process to get a tiny home and the application.

How will the people who live there be screened? Sex offender? Mental Health? Criminal? Alcohol and drugs?
See above for the process. We cannot discriminate against people with disabilities, mental or physical. Specifically “Current illegal drug users are not covered under any of these federal laws but individuals with alcoholism— whether or not in recovery—generally are, as are former drug users who have successfully completed an addiction-recovery program. Using prescription drugs at a doctor’s direction does not disqualify you from coverage.” So, we can address current behaviors, but we cannot discriminate based on mental illness, alcoholism or past drug use.

We have not done criminal background checks as we have left it up to the criminal justice system professionals to address concerns with people and believe that everyone deserves a second chance. People’s current behavior determines their ability to succeed in our community. We believe that anyone who can participate in the process, including 500 hours of sweat equity, can make it with support from our community.

What kind of an agreement do people sign to live there?
See here for the contract.

What rules do people have to follow? What consequences are there if the break the rules?
In addition to the contract people have to follow the conduct rules and shop rules. From the contract:

The biggest obstacle this project faces is stereotypes and assumptions surrounding homelessness. If public opinion is to be sympathetic, all Tiny House Occupants and authorized residents must be orderly and respectful of their neighbors. Disturbances will jeopardize the project. Therefore, multiple or egregious incidents involving noise, violence, public intoxication, indecency, or other misconduct will be investigated by OMI, and may cause possession of the Occupant’s Tiny House to revert to OMI.

From the conduct policy:

Violation of these policies may result in consequences up to and including the stewardship of your Tiny House reverting to Occupy Madison, Inc. For those people not yet the steward(s) of a Tiny House, violation of these policies may result in your being placed on a hold list delaying your receipt of a Tiny House.

From the shop rules:

Failure to abide by these rules may result in being banned from the shop.

How are people “evicted”?
From the conduct policy:

The Board is responsible for monitoring this Conduct Policy. A meeting will be scheduled at a mutually agreeable day and time to address any alleged violations. The Tiny House steward(s) or the occupant(s) of the trailer involved in the incident will have the opportunity to be present and the Board will decide the resolution of the matter by a majority vote.

The steward(s) of the Tiny House or the occupant(s) of the trailer have the right to appeal any decision of the Board to the General Membership. The appeal must be submitted to a Board member no later than 10 days after the written determination of the Board is given to the steward(s) or trailer occupant(s). However, submitting an appeal will not delay the implementation of the action decided on by the Board.

How many people can live in a house? What is the maximum number of people who can live here?

From the contract:

With the agreement of OMI, stewardship may be shared by two people, both of whom will be Joint Occupants of the Tiny House.

How will guests be regulated and limited in number?
From the contract:

No one other than the Occupant (or Joint Occupants) may live in a Tiny House for a period longer than two weeks without the agreement of OMI. The Occupant of a Tiny House is responsible for the conduct of guests. If an Occupant allows a violation of this condition, it may result in possession of the Tiny House reverting to OMI.

What social services will be offered for the people living on the site?
The same services available to any resident of the county. We believe that the Housing First model has shown that people with housing will better be able to be successful in services and employment and we are working to accomplish housing as the first step.

Will there be computers available to help people get jobs?
Yes, our shop currently has a computer available and wi-fi.

What becomes of the small home if and when the owner moves on?
It reverts back to Occupy Madison, Inc. and we would use it for a model or for persons who might have a disability that makes it hard for them to volunteer hours or other uses as we see appropriate.

What happens if someone abuses alcohol?
See above.

What are the rights and responsibilities of the residents and neighbors?
Same as everyone else. Residents of the tiny house village have the additional responsibilities spelled out in our various documents.

How long can people live here? Is this temporary (2 years) or not for living part?
Residents can live here in perpetuity as long as they follow the rules.

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