Written by Larissa, Movement Director for 7 Billion Ones
We shared the first chapter of Tommy’s story on 7 Billion Ones in 2016 (read Chapter 1 at the bottom of this page). Tommy had been homeless for about six months at the time we interviewed him for his story in late 2015. Last week, he unlocked the front door to his new home and slept in a bed of his own for the first time in three years. Tommy is the first resident of the new and first tiny home village here in Springfield, Missouri called 'Eden Village'. By the end of the year, they will house thirty residents in the remaining beautiful tiny homes (400 sq ft), and also begin work on the second tiny home village (more info here). Watching Tommy climb his front porch steps, unlock the door and walk into his home for the first time with hundreds of people applauding, cheering and crying was such a remarkable and truly heartfelt moment of humanity and fulfilled hopes and dreams.
A few days ago when I saw Tommy again, I asked him how he was feeling and what it was like his first week in his own home. He said, “It’s so weird! I have so much space to myself, and my own porch. I love it. I feel so loved and like I’m somebody. It’s taking some getting used to for sure though, you know? I’m not sleeping well yet but I know that’ll change soon, just takes a while to remember what it’s like to not have to worry about somebody stealing your stuff or bothering you when you sleep.” He told me he loved sitting on his porch in the morning with coffee and that he’d like to be the one to make me a cup of coffee after the years of us brewing coffee when Tommy stopped into the studio often. I called him a day later to set up a time, and in a few days, I’ll have the privilege of accepting Tommy’s invitation to sit on his porch and drink a cup of coffee that he’s going to make this time. In Tommy’s words from his story shared three years ago on 7 Billion Ones, we’re going to “appreciate the moments” together that may seem small, but are filled with hope, community, friendship and compassion. My heart is full. Tommy, our dear friend, we are so overjoyed for you. Congratulations on your new home. Thank you for being love. You deserve love too. Welcome home.