LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Pulaski County will fund the construction of a community village intended for chronically homeless people in the area. The project’s first phase should be completed by the end of next year, according to the county judge.

The village will be located at 6900 Green Road on the outskirts of the county. It will start with around 100 ‘tiny homes’ with air conditioning, heating and beds, said County Judge Barry Hyde. There will be a central area with bathrooms, showers and laundry.

“I’m passionate about this project,” Hyde said. “I’m committed to the homeless.”

The village will be modeled after a similar one in Austin, Texas, which Hyde said produced positive results. 

“It’s a model I’m trying to duplicate exactly, which draws us to the location we have,” Hyde said.

The county will fund the village with $5 million from American Rescue Plan funds. Rent will cost a few hundred dollars each month, which means people with part-time jobs can likely afford it.

Several people who live nearby said Monday they are not happy with the planned development. They said they fear crime could increase. Hyde said that is unlikely.

“We’re going to continue talking to neighbors and help them understand, watch the progress of the facility,” Hyde said. “If an issue comes up, we’re going to take care of it.”

Hyde said he plans to use organizations like “The Van” to identify people who would be quality applicants to the village. Aaron Reddin, who founded the group, said he is excited about its formation.

“We run into people in all these situations for whatever barrier it may be,” Reddin said. “I’m pumped to see there’s going to be some more options coming down the pike.”

Reddin said this shows how local governments can make a big impact.

“The county’s finally doing something the cities aren’t doing,” Reddin said.