Living in Community First! Village presents its own set of unique blessings and challenges. The following FAQs are by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully they will help address the majority of your questions. Many of the questions have already been discussed or will be addressed as you move through the Missional discernment process.
Our process is intended to be relational. We want to meet you in person, so start by following this link to sign up for a Missional Info Session, a Missional-led tour, or to receive information on Missional-led events at the Village that you can attend. Next you will apply for a Welcome Interview, complete the background check form, and be assigned a mentor. Your mentor will guide you the rest of the way.
Is there a spiritual component or religious requirement that comes with being a missional in Community First! Village?
While no religion or religious conviction is a requirement, realize that Mobile Loaves & Fishes is a Christian faith-based organization whose values are based on the teachings of Jesus. We have a deep abiding respect for all faiths and welcome all individuals into our community—both Community First! Village residents, and those who wish to volunteer or serve the residents living in our community. A Missional should at least have a working knowledge of Jesus as portrayed in the Bible’s Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) since references to these scriptures permeate the MLF and Community First! Village culture.
The process varies from six months to a year or more. You will need time to participate in Village life with Community First! neighbors and other Missionals. You will need time to ask and discern God’s call to you. You will need time to hear and process God’s answers to you. You will need time to know that Community First! Village is the place that you want to call home.
– The discernment process will involve being at Community First! Village frequently, as often as possible. You will be getting to know neighbors and Missionals while they get to know you. You will meet with your mentor frequently. Your mentor will answer questions, discuss the reading, podcasts, articles and videos you are studying, and walk with you as you tease out whether or not God is calling you to the Missional life. Once your mentor feels you are ready you will write a page or two about your journey—what you have learned, how you’ve changed, how things differ from your original expectations, what God has revealed to you about His call. This essay is circulated to the Missional community prior to a final interview with the discernment team at our quarterly D-Team meeting (held Dec, Mar, Jun, and Sept.) Next comes the vote. If you receive 70% positive responses from the Missional community, you are invited to become a Missional and your commissioning is scheduled for the next quarterly Missional all-hands meeting (January, April, July or October). After that, it’s official!
The Missional commitment is for a year. Our hope is that God will continue to fill your heart and soul to serve in Community First! Village for many years to come.
What is the true time commitment for being a Missional? What if I work full-time, serve at my child’s school, lead worship at our church, and manage a food pantry I founded years ago. Will I still have time to do all of this?
You may not. Missionals come from all walks of life with varying availability. All Missionals are asked to make Community First! Village their top service commitment. Each of us are asked to make time for our neighbor and Missional care roles, attend committee meetings, small group meetings, and the annual Missional retreat, plus make ourselves available as we can for regular daily interactions with folks.
Many Missionals living in Community First! Village decide to purchase their own Park Model Home, have it moved onto the property and set up. IMPORTANT NOTE: All homes must be pre-approved by Mobile Loaves & Fishes and meet their minimum standard prior to purchasing. MLF has a list of specifications that must be met regarding the type, size, year, electrical capacity, etc. It could be an expensive mistake should you not choose to follow this guideline. However, there are a limited number of Park Model Homes owned by MLF that may be available to rent. Please contact Mobile Loaves & Fishes for the availability at any one specific time.
Yes. Missionals who are single can move into an available tiny home owned by Mobile Loaves & Fishes. You need to be aware, however, that most tiny homes have no indoor plumbing or full kitchens. Occupants of tiny homes generally utilize the community laundry/restroom/shower facilities and common kitchens located throughout the property. Cooking in tiny homes is limited to crock pots, microwaves and a coffee pot. The use of electric skillets, George Foreman grills and the like are not permitted inside the tiny homes.
No. Missionals and neighbors living in Community First! Village pay the same amount for utilities and rent. If you lease a PMRV lot you will pay the rent on the lot plus electricity, propane and in some cases water. If you lease a tiny home, you will pay rent on the unit only, with no additional charge for electricity. There are no rent discounts.
Missionals who own their Park Model Home are expected to provide their own upkeep and repairs. MLF does not pay for any set up or maintenance expenses for units owned by Missionals. MLF maintains all MLF-owned units.
MLF has specific building codes that apply to all structures. Please be sure to inquire about the codes should you be interested in adding any type of additional structure to your lot. All building projects must be pre-approved by MLF’s Property Management team. Please note: MLF reserves the right to approve or deny any structures in Community First! Village.
No. All adults are required to discern in order to live missionally in Community First! Village. Minor children are the only exception. So, Missional families are singles or married couples, plus, in either case, their minor children if applicable. Please note that the MLF Occupancy Standard will be strictly enforced for all MLF owned units. Please contact MLF’s Property Management team for the current standard.
No. Any adult who discerned to live missionally and later gets married is required to have their future spouse walk through the discernment process before living in the Village. The potential spouse should begin discerning as early as possible. The process cannot be rushed unfortunately. Should the spouse not be discerned, the Missional would be expected to terminate their lease.
Yes. However, Missionals are required to make Community First! Village their primary residence—meaning 85% of their nights are spent living in the Village (not including work-related travel.) Mobile Loaves & Fishes has no restrictions on what real property Missionals own outside of the Village itself.
Yes. Missionals and neighbors living in Community First! Village may own two animals, provided they alert property management, sign the pet agreement, and if renting an MLF-owned residence, pay a pet deposit. Dogs and cats must be kept up to date with vaccinations and be spayed or neutered. Additionally, dogs need to be on a leash at all times and at no time tied up.
Yes, Missionals and neighbors are treated the same way regarding the rules involving overnight guests. Each neighbor can have up to six (6) overnight guest stays per month. An overnight guest stay is considered by the number of guests and the number of nights they stay. There are fines involved should you exceed this number of overnight stays per month. The exception to this rule is minor children and grandchildren. However, their stay can not be so lengthy that they could legally be considered residents without prior permission from Property Management.
Your guests are welcome to park anywhere it is legal to park. Be sure to avoid fire lanes, handicap parking spots, sidewalks, grass, blocking a driveway, etc. If your guest is staying anytime after 10:00pm, they must secure a “guest parking pass.” Any infraction of the parking rules, including neglecting to obtain a parking pass, could expose your guest to having their car towed at their expense. These rules and others will be explained to you during your housing contract discussion with MLF.
On a first come, first served basis, Missionals can reserve the Missional Manor, located on lot #300. This space is reserved for discerning Missionals wishing to experience life in Community First! Village, family members and guests of Missionals, and other visitors as designated by Mobile Loaves & Fishes. You can inquire about availability. Guests may also rent tiny homes from the Community Inn located near the entrance to the Village.
To be eligible to live in Community First! Village, an individual must be chronically homeless as defined in the City of Austin’s Action Plan to End Homelessness: An individual who is chronically homeless includes any person with a disability who has been living in a place not meant for human habitation for the last 12 months continuously or on at least four occasions in the last three years where those occasions cumulatively total at least 12 months. In order to be considered chronically homeless, a person must have been sleeping in a place not meant for human habitation (e.g., living on the streets) and/or in an emergency homeless shelter. A disabling condition is defined as: diagnosable substance use disorder, serious mental illness, developmental disability, chronic physical illness, or disability including the co-occurrence of two or more of these conditions. A disabling condition limits an individual’s ability to work or perform one or more activities of daily living.” In addition, the individual must have lived in the Austin metro area for the past year.
Does a potential resident need to be free of drug and alcohol addictions in order to live in Community First! Village?
Community First! Village has been developed with an approach similar to the Housing First model, which believes an individual must first be adequately housed before important lifesaving services such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation can be effective. To go through rehab or receive other vital services only to be released back onto the streets is counterproductive. Mobile Loaves & Fishes has taken this approach a step further by emphasizing community and relationships in all that we do.
It can be. Houses are close together and many have thin walls. Community First! Village does have quiet hours in place from 10:00pm to 6:00am, but there are occasions when some neighbors may not closely adhere to this rule.
Every neighborhood in any city at any time is susceptible to some level of criminal activity. Neighborhoods can mitigate potential criminal activity through strong vigilance. The very essence of Community First! Village is ‘neighbor looking after neighbor’. A good rule of thumb anywhere is to always keep your valuables locked and secured. Still, it’s always possible you may encounter a dangerous situation. It’s important to be alert and aware, just as you should in your current neighborhood.
How should I think about and approach the topic of trauma that Community First! Village neighbors may be carrying with them from their time on the streets?
The average amount of time that Community First! Village residents have spent living on the streets is about 10 years. The trauma that our friends carry with them as a result of their time on the streets has a multitude of negative effects on the behavior of our neighbors. Some become outwardly agitated, while others may choose to isolate. Many will never completely ‘settle,’ though that is our desire for them. Be compassionate. Offer mercy and grace. Many are simply doing the best they can.