One of Woodland’s partner organizations is Settled, a group taking an innovative approach toward homelessness by seeking to develop tiny home communities called “Sacred Settlements” on church properties.
After Woodland helped build the first tiny home model, Settled took it on the road to a variety of communities. One of their visits was to Faith Lutheran Church in Forest Lake. After interacting with Settled, the church felt called to pursue the possibility of creating a Sacred Settlement. Throughout the summer Woodland and Settled met regularly with Faith Lutheran’s leadership team, helping them navigate this topic with their members.
Then, in January, the Faith Lutheran congregation voted to become the first church to explore the possibility of creating a Sacred Settlement in the Twin Cities area.
But why is Forest Lake a key location for a Sacred Settlement?
While metro areas work to increase housing and services for those experiencing homelessness, towns outside the cities do not provide the same types of resources. Forest Lake has no adult services, so the few options available are temporary hotel stays or living in cars. As a result people may feel pressured to leave their hometowns and migrate into the cities to find help. This brings the painful feeling of loss of home. In this way, building a Sacred Settlement in Forest Lake is a way to invite people to come back home and enter life in a supportive, nurturing community.
In addition, the property of Faith Lutheran is unique in that most of the neighbors surrounding the church are also attendees at the church, hopefully enabling them to overcome “Not in my Backyard” objections (also known as “NIMBY-ism”).
Woodland will continue to partner with Faith Lutheran in hopes of helping to launch this first settlement, and we’re excited to see what comes next.
If you want to get the whole story of our partnership with Settled and the progress of the tiny home model, you can follow the timeline with these posts:
6/20/19 tiny home construction
7/18/19 first public appearance
12/2/19 tiny home makes the rounds in Twin Cities communities