Emerald Village: A Dream of an Affordable Tiny House Community
Respectful Revolution (2019)
This documentary is about a non-profit organization in Eugene, Oregon that has created a self-governing tiny house village for the city’s homeless.
The total of the project was $1.8 million – $300,000 for land and $1.5 million to construct 22 tiny houses. The group raised $1 million obtained via direct fundraising, $120,000 via a city development tax waiver, and in-kind donations of one tiny house each by a team of 13 architects and builders.
The dwellings are slightly bigger than conventional tiny houses and include kitchen, toilet and shower facilities. Some are large enough to house two people. All (previously homeless) residents were required to contribute 50 hours to building their home though most contributed much more. At present, each pays $250-300 rent, which covers all utility, staff and other operations costs.
While 22 tiny houses makes only a tiny dent in Eugene’s homeless population, Square One Village, the trust that created the tiny house community, hopes the project will inspire federal a state authorities to help fund similar projects throughout the US.
This two-part documentary focuses on homelessness in the Japanese city of Osaka. When the Japanese economy collapsed in the 1990s, many older workers lost their jobs. Last year Osaka (pop 19 million) had 18,000 homeless, mostly men. It’s easier for women who lose their jobs to return to live with family.
Part One (How to be Homeless in Japan) focuses on an 63-year-old man who makes a living collecting aluminum cans to sell at a recycling center. His work day starts before dawn, and he makes roughly $8 a day. In Osaka, one of the most expensive cities in the world, this earns him two meals of day old rice and fish, a cup of tea and a cup of sake. His spends his afternoons in the library reading.
Part Two (Japanese Homeless Fight Back) focuses on organizing efforts by Osaka’s homeless to protect themselves and better meet their needs. In addition to setting up an immaculate tent city on the grounds of a national monument, a number of them run a charity that uses expired supermarket food to provide two hot meals a week for all Osaka’s street people.
It also features a march Osaka’s homeless organized to protest the death of a homeless man kicked to death by unemployed youth.