A couple of weeks out from a citywide vote on reinstating Austin's camping ban, a measure primarily directed at removing encampments of unhoused people from public spaces, a local nonprofit announced Monday that it is expanding its village of tiny homes, recreational vehicles, and other permanent shelter for people who experience chronic homelesness.

Created and managed by nonprofit group Mobile Loaves and Fishes, the Community First Village opened in 2015 on 27 acres of land a few miles east of downtown Austin near Lake Walter Long. The community offers supportive housing in the form of mobile homes, tiny houses, gardens, community space, and services for people who have been unhoused on an ongoing basis. 

At a news conference on Wednesday, MLF founder and CEO Alan Graham and MLF president Amber Fogarty announced that the organization had obtained 127 additional acres of land, bringing its total to 178 and tripling its total acreage. The addition will allow it to expand its original site as well as creating a new village in Southeast Austin. CF plans to add 1,400 homes on the two sites at an expected cost of $119 million. MLF plans to launch a fundraising campaign for the expansion this fall.

In 2017, Graham and Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced a 10-year plan to mitigate homelessness in Austin, along with a $60 million capital campaign to fund expansion of Community First.

In its second phase of development in 2019, it acquired an additional 24 acres of land, bringing the total to 51, and partnered with Austin-based 3D-printing company Icon and Cielo property group to print a 3D “model home” and office on the property—part of a cluster of six printed homes that are now part of the community.

The village is currently home to to 220 formerly unhoused people as well as 50 “missional neighbors”—people "who feel called to live in the community," according to Fogarty.