Over a year ago, an emergency family shelter made up of tiny houses opened in Bastrop County.
Roland Nava, pastor of In the Streets - Hands Up High Ministry, had a dream. He had been planning the shelter for homeless individuals and families who were in need of emergency housing. The units are available for up to three months for the homeless. With the support of the local community, S.A.F.E., or Secure Acre Family Environment, it opened next door to his existing soup kitchen off of State Highway 95 between Elgin and Bastrop.
The tiny houses can accommodate up to five people and cost $6,000 to build. Initially, three houses were funded with donations by Bastrop Christian Church, First National Bank of Bastrop and Amazing Floors. Now with assistance from other businesses and organizations, there are eight. The latest donors include Bastrop Christian Fellowship House, Grace Bible Fellowship Church, Bastrop First Assembly of God, Calvary Episcopal Church and Ascension Catholic Church Knights of Columbus & Bastrop Ladies of Charity.
The inside of each home features a pair of bunk beds, a dining table, a mini-refrigerator, a microwave and other amenities. Since there is no water in any of the homes, there is a shower house serviced by a new septic system that was paid for by an anonymous donor. The two shower houses were funded by a donation from Barrientos Construction Bath House and Goldie’s Women’s Shower House.
Pastor Nava’s dream to purchase additional property and expand the facility was recently realized with more generous assistance from the community, and the clearing of adjacent property is underway.
The residents will have three meals a day, free health screenings, church services and transportation to and from Bastrop available to them. Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) will soon construct a permanent station to transport individuals to the facility and into town for other needed trips. Additionally, an outdoor stage will host concerts and movies for entertainment to the residents.
The gated facility has a zero-tolerance policy for drugs, alcohol and domestic violence.
Although many donations have been received, the program still needs funding to build additional tiny homes and provide more bath houses. The number of homeless individuals in Bastrop County is growing steadily, and projects like this only serve a small portion of the county. To donate directly to the ministry, visit itshuh-ministry.org or call 512-317-7503.