Often in our Weekend Top Picks listings, we highlight the free outdoor films held at the Cinema at Community First! Village. But for those who are not familiar, Community First! Village is WAY more than an outdoor movie theater! This one-of-a-kind, nationally-recognized, 27-acre master-planned community was designed for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. Even more than providing homes for its residents, it’s a unique space for the Austin community that includes a blacksmith forge, an impressive organic garden, a bed & breakfast for visitors, and most importantly, as noted on their website, it’s “a revolution in goodness”.

Our staff recently took a tour of this amazing Austin community, and we were truly moved by the goodness found here. We encourage you to visit, volunteer, attend an event, and show your support. Here’s why…

Photo from Mobile Loaves & Fishes

Established by Austin nonprofit, Mobile Loaves & Fishes, and inspired by CEO Alan Graham’s philanthropic passion, this planned community provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for the disabled, chronically homeless in Central Texas. This transformative residential program offers a place for individuals to rediscover hope and restore their dignity, and it’s a place they can call home.

The video below offers a wonderful overview of the goals and success of Community First! Village, as also clearly noted in this quote from Alan Graham:

“The Community First Village is the recognition that human beings need to be in relationship with each other, and that housing will never solve homelessness but community will. What humans desire, more than anything, is not a house, but to be in relationship with people.”

When an individual moves into the village, they can choose from living in a tiny home, an RV, or canvas-sided cottage. Residents pay rent on their homes, and there are several opportunities within the community for individuals to make an income. For artisans, there’s an art studio and blacksmithing forge to create wares to be sold at an onsite market, at various craft shows or by commission. There are opportunities to earn wages by working in the gardens or the cinema cafe or through housekeeping and cooking for guests at the Community Inn, the onsite bed and breakfast.

Photo of Micro Homes from Mobile Loaves & Fishes

—> How Your Family Can Enjoy Community First! Village:
Besides attending a movie screening, there are MANY ways you can experience Community First! Village.

Take a Tour: Get an up-close & personal look at the workings of this amazing community by signing up online here for a tour. Tours are offered on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month, as well as some Saturdays (schedule noted here). *Be prepared to leave wanting to show your support, volunteer, donate, or find ways to get involved.

Photo from Mobile Loaves & Fishes

— Stay at the Community Inn: How would your kiddos like to stay in a real tipi, tiny house or vintage airstream for a little staycation? If you’ve ever wanted to go “glamping”, this is your destination. The Inn allows guests to choose from a variety of accommodations. Click here for more info and plan a little overnight getaway without leaving Austin. *Pro tip: Book a tipi stay to wow the kids on an outdoor movie night! After the show, you can tuck them into bed right after the film.

Stay in a tipi, vintage airstream or tiny home. Photo from Mobile Loaves & Fishes

— Attend an Event: In addition to the movies at the impressive outdoor cinema provided by Alamo Drafthouse, there are often other happenings that you’re welcome to attend. Keep an eye on the calendar here for future events.

Photo from Mobile Loaves & Fishes

— Volunteer: Whether you want to get your hands dirty in the garden or support resident artists, there’s a little something for everyone to jump in and get involved. Click here to view the master calendar to sign up for one of many volunteer opportunities.

Photo from Mobile Loaves & Fishes

— Donate: Obviously, your dollars are appreciated to support the efforts of Mobile Loaves and Fishes. Click here to view all of the many options for giving.

Photo from Mobile Loaves & Fishes

Take note that getting to the Community First! Village is pretty easy. It’s located on the far east side of Austin near the Travis County Expo Center. There is ample free parking, but there’s also a bus stop right in the community center (Cap Metro bus #237). Keep up with their Facebook page for all the latest news, and learn much more by visiting their website.

Have you been to Community First! Village? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.