Living in Community First! Village presents its own set of unique blessings and challenges. After reading through these questions it’s possible you may have concerns with some areas you do not agree with or consider unacceptable. First, please know that your feelings are okay. What we ask is that you prayerfully discern whether these feelings and concerns are ‘of God.’ If they are, we invite you to have a discussion with your discernment team. If there is still a level of concern, then it may be time for you to consider delaying or ending the discernment process.

The following FAQ’s 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.

You need to start by reviewing every section of this website. Read, watch and listen to all of the requested materials. Complete the application in full, including answering the questions in the “Reflections on Required Reading/Listening” section. Please feel free to email discerningmissionals@mlf.org if you have questions along the way!

While religion or religious conviction is not 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 time is varied, but usually takes about a year. 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.

Once your application is accepted, you will be paired with a “Missional Mentor” to walk with you on your Missional Discernment journey. Plan to be present at Community First! Village frequently (weekly is best) during the next year. You will be interacting with neighbors and Missionals while you get to know them and they get to know you. You will meet with your mentor frequently to discuss various topics such as MLF’s vision, mission, core values and philosophies, understanding traumas that our neighbors face, how best to communicate and become a neighbor, etc.

Once your mentor feels that you are ready to become a missional (usually about a year or so), they will present you to the discernment team for an interview. Discernment interviews are only held in December, March, June and September. If you pass the discernment team interview, then the entire missional body has an opportunity to vote. If you receive 70%+ positive votes, you will be invited to join the missionals at their next quarterly meeting in January, April, July or October. Then you may move into Community First! Village as an approved Missional.

The Missional commitment is for a year. Each year every Missional will re-commit at the Annual Missional Retreat. Our hope is that God will continue to fill your heart and soul to serve for many years to come in Community First! Village.  

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. Making time for their role on the Neighbor Care Team, their role on the Missional Care Team, to attend committee and group meetings, the annual retreat, regular daily interactions with folks, and then whatever discretionary service one is led to offer. It simply takes a lot of time to answer the call to serve our neighbors well.

Yes, Missionals living in Community First! Village must purchase their own RV or Park Model Home, have it moved onto the property and set up. In some cases, a newer model, used RV or Park Model Home may be acceptable. 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.

Yes. Missionals who are single can move into an available tiny home owned by Mobile Loaves & Fishes. You need to be aware, however, that tiny homes have no indoor plumbing or full kitchens. Occupants of tiny homes utilize the community laundry/restroom/shower facilities and also the community kitchens that are located nearby on 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 an RV/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 and electricity for HVAC. There are no rent discounts.

Missionals who own their RV or 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 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. Please note:  MLF reserves the right to approve or deny any structures in Community First! Village.

Unfortunately, no. Only minor children are allowed to live with Missional adults. Missional families are restricted to married couples or singles, and their minor children.

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 on campus. The potential spouse should begin discerning as early as possible, even before engagement. Should the spouse not be discerned, the Missional would be asked to terminate their lease.

Yes. However, Missionals are required to make Community First! Village their primary residence— meaning 85% of their time is spent living in the Village. 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. 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 pm, 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.  

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 the RV’s at 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 (e.g., living on the streets and/or in an emergency homeless shelter) 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. 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.

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 would 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 RV’s 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. Crime statistics for the three mile area surrounding Community First! Village shows a dramatic contrast to what we experience in our neighborhood. According to the Travis County Sheriff’s office, Community First! Village had fewer calls in 2019 than many apartment complexes of similar size. Still, it’s always possible you may encounter a dangerous situation. It’s important to be alert and aware, just as you would be anywhere.

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.

Still have questions? Contact us at discerningmissionals@mlf.org.

Required Reading

Discerning Missionals are asked to complete our reading list and submit their reflections as part of the application process.

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