A Village Becomes Home

Home isn’t typically something we think about much as being anything special in our lives. During holiday seasons perhaps we cherish home more as we look forward to gathering with friends and family. Otherwise for most, home seems to be simply a place we leave in the morning and return to at night for shelter. 

interviews + words + photographs JAN WEISS

Home takes on an entirely different meaning for our homeless friends who have lived on the streets without shelter. Home for them, takes on a different dimension than for those of us who have taken a home for granted.

Housing for those who have been homeless isn’t simply shelter and protection, it is survival from a past life which was often headed for destruction. It offers the opportunity to begin a new path, to gain quality to living, and it offers opportunities most of us take for granted: rest, peace, safety, and the ability to go to work and invest in others. Finally, a home makes possible the formation of dreams and life goals. 

Here are voices put to words about the importance of home from three residents currently blessed with a permanent home at Eden Village 1 in Springfield, Missouri.

Home to Vicki has “saved her life”, as it has allowed her to escape from adverse contacts and temptations. “God looked out for me to get here (Eden Village),” Vicki says. Her best blessings have been becoming sober and reconnecting with her daughter, both of which have a likelihood of becoming permanent life changes now that she has a safe place to live. She dreams of one day owning her own home. 

Home to Gary brings joy as he can finally rest without worry of harm or his possessions being stolen. To him, the value of having a home is that he can live like a “normal” person, have a place to hold his belongings, cook meals, and sleep in peace. “Life is like retirement now,” Gary says, and he enjoys spending hours on his porch listening to music with his favorite companion, his dog, Flash.

“Everything is looking up now and the sky is the limit,” Jeremy says. “I have nice things and am reconnected with my family now.” Home has enabled Jeremy to keep a job, get his family back, and enjoy basic activities in life, like cooking, cleaning, and bathing. He dreams of getting a car and training to become a Burrell Peer Support Specialist. “Life is good now,” he says.

The true value of a home can’t be measured by a mortgage, but by the new life it offers to those it shelters. Give thanks for your home this day. JW

Eden Village is a community designed to provide permanent, supportive housing to individuals who are chronically homeless and disabled. It provides not only safety and protection, but a place to live with dignity. The Eden Village motto is “building a city where no one sleeps outside.” If you would like to give financially to Eden Village, donate through its website at edenvillagespringfield.org (click on “donate”) or mail donations to Eden Village at 2801 E Division St., Springfield, MO 65803. Checks can be made to “Eden Village.” For inquiries, email edenvillagestaff@gmail.com or call 417.894.3972. 

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