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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A place to call home

Photo by Courtesy

Tiny Hope Village is an organization looking to provide houses to homeless people in the Bryan-College Station area.

What started as a way of providing a Sunday meal for those less fortunate has flourished into a community aspiring to provide permanent homes for people experiencing homelessness.
Dan Kiniry, Class of 2006, is the executive director of the Bryan-based nonprofit Tiny Hope Village. As part of ongoing plans for their housing community, Kiniry is hosting a fundraiser at Square One on Sept. 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The event will have food, drinks, live music and a silent auction. According to Kiniry, the event will offer a moment for students and residents of the area to become familiar with the homeless community around them.
Kiniry said he’s hoping the event will help the organization find a piece of land to accommodate a community of tiny homes designed to provide basic needs and comfortable living for those who experience homelessness.
“The big thing is land,” Kiniry said. “Because once we get land, we can make a beautiful site plan to show and folks will be really excited and maybe [a] church can raise money to build homes.”
In 2007, Kiniry said he saw a lack of food being provided for the homeless during weekends, leading him to organize potluck meals in Bryan’s Neal Park.
“If it’s your first time to come to the meals, we don’t allow you to serve the food,” Kiniry said. “We don’t want people to have the sense that they’re there to volunteer or that they’re there to save another person.”
Civil engineering seniors Rita Fuentes and Zachary Wadley have been attending regularly since January.
“There are a lot of A&M students that come here, but they come once and they don’t come back again,” Fuentes said. “There are probably around 30 to 40 people, but during the summer the students all go home and there’s less than five students. Then the people start dwindling because it’s hot and there’s not a lot of food.”
According to Wadley, the experience was different from what he expected and it has changed his view on the homeless community.
“One way or another, I was viewing it as a way to serve,” Wadley said. “You bring food to help… but while you’re here you’re no different from anyone else, whether they brought food, whether they’re students or someone from the community.”
Fuentes said the potluck made them aware that homeless people come from all walks of life and most people don’t understand that many are just one misfortune away from finding themselves without food or shelter.
“A lot of people have some sort of weird fear about the homeless people,” Fuentes said. “They have this idea that ‘it’s us against them, they are against us’… but that’s not true. There are some people who are homeless because of unfortunate circumstances. I think it can happen to anyone at any time.”
Alice Jordan, 67, said she was once an employee at West Texas Hospital and a business-owner in Lubbock, but has recently found herself sleeping on park benches. Jordan said she craves security without the worry of finding a meal or being evicted. This security is what Tiny Hope Village aims to provide.
“I’m homeless and I never thought I’d be homeless,” Jordan said. “[In my tiny home] I would have roses… a small futon and little coffee table.”

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