Chico City Council to discuss 'Simplicity Village'

Council Member Andrew Coolidge supports the proposal to build "Simplicity Village" in Chico.

Posted: Jul 3, 2018 4:52 PM
Updated: Jul 3, 2018 5:57 PM

"I am all about giving people a hand up, not a hand out."

Conservative Chico City Council Member Andrew Coolidge says at first, he was doubtful about the idea of a small village dedicated to the homeless population.  That is, until he went to his hometown of Marysville to see the project dubbed "14 Forward."  It's a low-income transitional village of tightly-controlled tiny homes.  He says he saw that it was run very efficiently.

Coolidge put the item on Tuesday night's City Council agenda for discussion, as part of his 'Chico Safe Now' proposal.  He says the council will still have questions.  "Where is this going to be? How is it going to be organized?  And how will it fit into all these services we have in Chico?"

Chico Housing Action Team Board Member Charles Withuhn is spearheading the project.  He says "Simplicity Village," would be homeless 'seniors-only,' modeled after 14 Forward, and other tiny home villages in Oregon and Washington.  He says, "It's structure that's proven in other communities.  We've refined it so it can be even better."

Withuhn adds that the environment will be closely monitored, and will not turn into permanent housing, or a place where people can loiter.  Says Withuhn, "It's a private community.  It's fenced.  It's secure, no unauthorized visitors, no free food.  It's members-only that go through an interview process, a background check, another interview, and a 4 week probationary period."

Withuhn says the village will run entirely on donations, and the $200/month rent that will be collected from members.  He says he will not be seeking any money from the city.

Tuesday's Chico City Council meeting starts at 6:00pm at the council chambers.

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