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My friend Brice Royer has been struggling with a stomach tumour and depression for the past few years.
A doctor told him that feeling loved and cared for is the world’s best medicine. “I can’t buy love, but maybe I can give it away," he said. So just for fun, he wrote a Craigslist ad selling Unconditional Love for $0 that reached millions of people in a few days. We were all very surprised!
Francesca Murray, a Vancouver mother, responded to his Craigslist ad for help with cooking. We then learned she's currently living at a women’s shelter with her 4 year old daughter. She even offered to help us feed the hungry.
We were so touched that we decided to surprise her with food. Instead, she surprised us by sharing the food with six other women at the shelter! A friend made a fundraiser to provide more food to the shelter. It made the front page of the Vancouver Sun.
(Photo: Ruso, Brice, and Francesca)
Homelessness could happen to anyone.
She used to work as a business analyst for the ICBC. After leaving a difficult relationship and struggling with physical and mental health issues, she now has very little support. The homeless shelter is unstable and they often run out of food.
Recently, we found out that Francesca’s term at the shelter ends in February, leaving her searching for a new home.
So we had this idea... why don't we help out this kindhearted homeless mom and her daughter? We aim to raise $5,000 to get Francesca back on her feet!
But it doesn’t stop there--what if we built a sustainable solar-powered tiny house that could be temporary housing not only for Francesca, but also for other people experiencing transitions? This could be a solution to the refugee crisis and climate change.
We envision the tiny home being owned and run by a local non-profit that would provide the services necessary to all aspects of transitioning back into stable, permanent housing. Individuals and families would be welcome to stay in the tiny home, all by donation, which could then be used to build more homes and start an international pay-it-forward housing movement.
We aim to raise $20,000 towards building a tiny home, as well as the $5000 to support Francesca’s short term housing needs, for a total of $25,000.
An affordable tiny home may seem like a dream, but that’s exactly what my friend Kayla Feenstra did. Her home has been featured in the media and cost $20,000 to build over two months.
She lives in her tiny home on property in exchange for clearing the unused farm land in Abbotsford, BC. Kayla’s experience is an example of how to live mortgage-free on unused land in harmony with the local community.
We invite everyone interested in collaborating in this amazing project to contact us. We are looking for volunteers, construction supplies and materials (materials list soon to be released), as well as non-profits or landowners who are inspired by our vision.
By helping one person, we are helping all humanity.
We can change lives together, helping one homeless mother and her daughter, while supporting the environment and minimizing the cost of living.
- Ruso Llanera, with Kayla Feenstra, Jodeline Weir, and Brice Royer
Alternative payment methods: Cash, cheques, e-interact, Paypal, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To volunteer and learn more: http://www.tinyhomebighearts.com
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Who is arranging for the home to be built?
As of December 2015, we have three volunteers who kindly offered to help build the home. Kayla Feenstra of Tiny Homes Canada (pictured in the fundraiser, who built her own tiny home in 3 months for under $20,000) with the assistance of architects Peter and Alexis Smith. The entire team is listed on the website www.tinyhomebighearts.com
Where will the home be located? For how long? Is there a contingency plan if the land situation changes (ie property gets sold)?
Kayla Feenstra has several locations to build and park the first tiny home. The build will most likely happen in Abbotsford and take 3 months to build. One of the many benefits of having a tiny home is mobility. The home can easily be moved if needed. We are also working with the city of Vancouver to explore solutions for a more permanent tiny home community.
How long will she live in this home? Is there a time limit (ie. Until she gets back on her feet and is able to move into something larger with her daughter)?
As written in the fundraiser above, the first $5000 will be towards her short-term housing needs until she finds suitable long-term housing. The extend of the stay in the non-profit tiny home will depend on city by-laws for non-profit transition housing. In the event that Francesca finds more suitable housing, the vacancy will be given to others in transition.
Why not extend the fundraiser?
Francesca's term at the shelter ends in February. It takes approximately three months to build the home. If we don't raise the full amount, it means we have to delay building the house. This won't just delay Francesca, but all people in transition, because we envision the tiny home being owned and run by a local non-profit where families can stay, all by donation.
Will this help just Francesca? What about others in need? Why not share the funds equally to many other homeless people? We could help more people!
The first $5000 goes to Francesca's short term housing needs. It will help for some time but it won't be a sustainable long-term solution. The rest goes to build the tiny home. This home will not only help Francesca, but others in transition such as refugees. We envision the tiny home being owned and run by a local non-profit that would provide the services necessary to all aspects of transitioning back into stable, permanent housing. Individuals and families would be welcome to stay in the tiny home, all by donation (often through their government income assistance), which could then be used to build more homes and start an international pay-it-forward housing movement. We are exploring solutions with the city of Vancouver for a tiny home community.
Why not get the supplies donated? This tiny home should be sponsored!
We agree. A supplier has kindly offered to donate windows and doors. If you would like to donate supplies, we would love to hear from you. We are looking for bathrooms, kitchens, trailers, furnishings, and more. Please email us if you'd like to make an in-kind donation of supplies email@example.com
What media attention has this received?
The story has been featured on NBC Today, CNN, CBC, AOL, Global News, and many other websites. You can search "Brice Royer + Francesca tiny home" in Google for the latest updates. Watch the surprise event that started it all on Global News.
How is this a movement? How can this be duplicated in other cities?
After watching this CBC news article, a stranger has offered her home to Francesca until Dec 29th for Christmas. And she has inspired others around the world to share their spared rooms.
"I'm home alone. And, just found out a friend is stage 4 cancer. I don't do enough and have so much.” - Arlington, Texas. Two bedrooms to anyone in need.
“I do have a space available at my house. I wanted to rent it out, but this sounds like a better idea." - North Vancouver.
“We have a 4 bedroom house. We can offer hospitality for as long as needed, and also cook meals." - Coquitlam, BC.
Her small act of kindness has multiplied a thousand fold. This pay it forward housing movement is so inspiring to watch and it happened in a very unexpected way.
This is a great project. Can I volunteer? How can I be kept posted on any further updates?
There may be opportunities to volunteer. For now we need your help to spread the word. Please sign up by email at www.tinyhomebighearts.com and we will contact you.
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