Springfield couple aims to end homelessness in the community

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. A Springfield couple is working to build a community to help end homelessness.

David and Linda Brown got the idea after volunteering with local shelters.

"The answer to homelessness is a home. It's kind of a simple solution," said David Brown.

It took some time for him to fully understand the homeless problem in Springfield.

"We got started with this by moving downtown into a loft in 2010. That was my first encounter on the street of homeless people. At first I avoided them. After a while I started talking to them," he said.

That's when the Browns started volunteering.

"We got to see them as the human beings that they are. Out of that grew, we realized you know, they need a home. They need more than a warming center and an overnight shelter. They need a home," he said.

For them, helping the homeless community became personal.

They're your friends. We go home to a nice home and we see them drudge off into the dark. After a while that gets to you. Something needs to be done," he explained.

Eden Village is that something. It's a planned community geared towards helping people get back on their feet. The first 'tiny house' was dedicated in June. Six months later, two more houses are up.

Linda Brown decorates the spaces herself.

"It's just exciting to think that it's going to look good. It's going to be fun. I don't know. I just love it," she said.

David Brown explained, "I think what we're saying is we want to put you in something we would live in. We value you as a human being,"

The onsite community center is also taking shape.

"We'll have probably a food bank in it. We want to bring services to our friends instead of making them go get the services," said David Brown.

Their goal is to give them tools they need to stay off the streets for good.

"We can't recreate family but we can recreate community. That's what makes this work," he said.

The application and screening process for the new residents will start in January.

Eden Village is being funded by donations and built by volunteers.

The Browns are working to open the community by summer.