Monarch Village provides new resource for Douglas County’s individuals experiencing homelessness

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This weekend, a new community resource opens up officially for those experiencing homelessness in Douglas County. // Image courtesy of Monarch Village

The University of Kansas School of Architecture’s Studio 804 and the Lawrence Community Shelter have combined efforts to provide a new resource for individuals experiencing homelessness in Douglas County.

The Monarch Village, a tiny home community of 12 units that are 160 square feet each, opens officially to the public on Saturday after an official ribbon-cutting. This follows eight months of construction and the unveiling of a prototype to a socially-distanced, masked audience in October.

The village on the south side of the Lawrence Community Center has the capacity to shelter up to 48 individual family members, with each unit sitting next to a vegetable garden and butterfly waystation. It was a result of the efforts of 18 graduate student volunteers from the University of Kansas School of Architecture, who put in 20,000 hours of volunteer design work.

The village also received over $200,000 in donated building materials and volunteered time and supplies from 32 local contractors. Mayor Brad Finkeldei of Lawrence expressed excitement about finally seeing the project become a reality.

“It is a perfect example of the evolution of the way a community should interact with its citizens experiencing homelessness,” Finkeldei says. ” I look forward to similar innovative projects occurring in the future.”

Mike Easterday, a Lawrence resident, and supporter of the Lawrence Community Center, recommends people get out there and see the finished product.

“To say that Monarch Village is impressive is a gross understatement,” Easterday says. “It is a creative, practical solution to provide comfortable space for family units.  If you haven’t seen it, it is worth a visit. ”

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