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Tiny homes village coming to Springs' Mill Street neighborhood

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Posted at 5:22 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 19:30:40-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Breaking the cycle of poverty and preventing homelessness - that's the goal of a new tiny homes community coming to Colorado Springs.

Located near the corner of Fountain and Sierra Madre, in an area known as the Mill Street neighborhood, is a block of homes. Greg Flaks shared that his father purchased them in the 60s and 70s.

Flaks said, "He purchased the houses and then rented them out over the years."

He and his brother, Rick Flaks, continued to rent the homes out to people up until last year.

Rick Flaks said, "These houses are at least 100 years old and like anything that's old they needed upkeep, and quite frankly we sort of became disenchanted with being landlords."

They decided they would eventually get rid of them.

Greg Flaks said, "Once we decided to tear them down and destroy them we allowed the fire department and the police department to do training here."

But the question remained: "We thought what could we do better with the land?" said Rick Flaks.

Shelley Jensen, founder & CEO of the nonprofit We Fortify, had the answer.

Greg Flaks said, "We're so excited that we can join with Shelley to put this tiny home village together."

News 5 learned that the village will be serving young, single adults between the ages of 18 and 29 who are at extreme risk for becoming, have been, or are situationally homeless.

Jensen said, "We're building our first home right now and we have four trailers on order. We'll have five homes on the property by the end of October and the rest on the property by the end of February."

There will be 18 homes total with the rent for each at $600 a month. For residents - it'll be a two-year lease agreement to help them get back on their feet.

Jensen said, "All people that come into the village are recommended by other human services organizations first and then we vet them, and then they need to sign a community contract."

For the Flaks brothers, it's a project they know their parents would be proud of.

Greg Flaks said, "It was my mother's absolute dream for something like this to happen."

As for Jensen, she said, "What excites me the most about this is that if we can shift these 18 people in two years out it'll be 90 in 10 years...if they can remain in a position of emotional and financial interdependence their children won't be born into a paradigm of poverty."