Where do film, family, and fun come together at Austin’s coolest outdoor movie venue? At Community Cinema. Here’s everything you need to know about attending a FREE movie night at Community First! Village.
It’s no secret that Austin has a large homeless population–approximately 2,000 individuals by some estimates. Local non-profit Mobile Loaves & Fishes, whose name you may recognize from their fleet of food trucks, is working to shrink that number through their development of the Community First! Village, which offers affordable, permanent housing for the chronically homeless. Residents can choose from one of three housing options–micro-homes, RVs, and canvas-sided cottages–and pay affordable monthly rent for a fully-furnished dwelling to call home. There are currently 80 residents but, when complete (in mid- to late 2017), Phase 1 of the development will house 250 individuals–reducing homelessness in our city by roughly 10%!
But it’s about more than house. It’s about building community. According to Mobile Loaves & Fishes, the most common cause of homelessness is catastrophic loss of family. Community First! Village strives to create an environment where the homeless can heal, grow in hope, and restore their dignity. Residents have on-site access to behavioral health case managers; primary healthcare services; home hospice and respite care; micro-enterprise business opportunities; places for worship, study, and fellowship; and community gardens. All of these resources are provided within a supportive community built on relationships. Those relationships are not exclusive to the residents, however. They extend to the larger Austin community, as well.
I know what you’re thinking… “I’m part of that larger community. How do I get involved?” There are lots of volunteer opportunities available at Community First! for individuals and groups. You could register for a Saturday tour to get an up close and personal look at the development. But the easiest, and probably most fun, way is to attend a FREE movie night at the village. Mobile Loaves & Fishes, in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse, is hosting Community Cinema screenings at the Community First! Village amphitheater.
My family attended Back to the Future earlier this month and we had a blast! We arrived early so we had plenty of time to wander through the village, which is open to the public on movie nights for self-guided tours. My big-hearted 9 year-old son was moved by everything he saw there. There’s a playground! There’s a dog park! There’s a library! There’s an art studio! There’s a garden! He was so excited to see the amenities available to the residents and became convinced that he could build and donate his own tiny house. After our tour, we goofed off with some fun movie-inspired costumes, filled our bellies with popcorn and candy from the concession stand, and settled in for the movie. The crowd was an eclectic mix of super-friendly folks–families, singles, residents, and volunteers–all gathered to enjoy a little 80s nostalgia.
The next Community Cinema screening is this Friday, September 30, featuring Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and a raffle with some amazing prizes. Arrive early with your blankets and chairs (bug spray, closed-toed shoes, and flashlights are recommended, too) to stake out your spot before exploring Community First! Don’t miss the concession stand (cash only), where residents will be working to earn a modest living income. The movie begins at sundown. Sit back, relax, and bask in the joy of community.
2016 Community Cinema dates:
- Friday, September 30 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Rated PG-13
- Friday, October 14 – Ghostbusters – Rated PG
- Friday, October 28 – Poltergeist – Rated PG (warning: watches more like a PG-13)
- Friday, November 11 – The Peanuts Movie – Rated G
- Friday, November 18 – Movie TBD
- Saturday, December 3* – Movie TBD
- Saturday, December 10* – Movie TBD
*Mobile Loaves will be hosting a special family event in December with thousands of lights, Santa, and a holiday market in addition to the movies.
Community First! Village
9301 Hog Eye Rd
Austin, TX 78724
Want to learn more about the vision behind Community First! Village? Check out their new video.