SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Other Side Village is taking a page from a beloved children’s show host. Mister Rogers always welcomed his viewers with a “Hello, neighbor.” His mission was to make children feel they were part of something and part of his community.

Soon a 39-acre development in the Glendale area of Salt Lake City will be welcoming its residents with a similar greeting, because when you are part of The Other Side Village, you are a neighbor, a member of the community, you have a purpose and a place, and your neighbors want you to be successful.

The Other Side Village is founded on the belief that housing alone can not solve homelessness, but community will. The goal is to provide high-quality, permanent, deeply affordable housing that is all part of a community offering support, social connections, and an opportunity for personal growth for individuals who are coming out of chronic homelessness.

Preston Cochrane, CEO of The Other Side Village points out the value of being part of something bigger than yourself and how being given the right opportunities and the ability to hold yourself accountable while making choices is a catalyst for change. 

“We like to say we are not giving roofs away; we are changing lives,” Cochrane said while looking out over the field of dirt being moved to accommodate the tiny homes that will dot the landscape.

Cochrane and two of the “neighbors” of The Village have been out doing their part to get the area ready for trenches to be dug for waterlines and electrical conduits.

One of the neighbors, Randy, says he can feel the excitement and the energy of the place even though there are no buildings to be seen, yet. He says he knows he is supposed to be there, and he is grateful for the changes that he has been able to make to make sure he is ready to move in next year.

He and another neighbor, Lance, have both struggled with substance abuse and homelessness but are now enjoying being “clean and sober” and working toward becoming part of a community. Their families have expressed seeing and appreciating the changes they are making and through the support of the Other Side Academy, the two men are looking forward to being leaders in their community and being examples to others.

“I get to finally be an example to my five kids, show them what can be done,” said Randy. “That’s a pretty good feeling.”

Work on the village is moving right along. This week, crews are bringing in dirt from Bountiful and laying down a vapor barrier. Neighbors are out helping get The Village ready for the homes that are waiting in storage units and on backlots of local businesses. Organizers are hoping residents can start moving in next Spring and early summer.

Sunny blue skies welcome future residents of The Other Side Village. Photo courtesy Preston Cochrane.

Many local builders, businesses, and schools have completed or begun building the homes for The Village.

In the first phase, 60 homes will be placed on the lot along with vacation rental homes that can be rented to visitors and tourists to Salt Lake.

The Village is still looking for builders to donate homes and anyone interested in helping should contact The Other Side on their website.