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Building a Community for the Homeless



Composite of hands lifting up several toy houses. Image meant to convey affordable housing
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It’s another one of those typically hectic mornings for single working mom Robin Draper. She awoke just after sunrise in the tiny bedroom she shares with her 9-year-old daughter Avery, cooked breakfast, packed Avery lunch and then dropped her daughter off at school before hustling to her job.
“Housing will never solve homelessness, but community will.”Austin real estate developer Alan Graham
For the past six hours Draper has been racing around the grounds of Community First Village in a golf cart, stocking some of the 125 micro-homes and 100 RVs on the 51-acre property in Austin, Texas, with everything from silverware and furniture to bedding and food.
“If it wasn’t for all this, I’d either be in prison or dead,” Draper, 47, who spent years living on the streets, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.
Draper has one person to thank for that: Alan Graham, the 64-year-old bearded, wise-cracking former real estate developer who has provided new homes to nearly 200 of Austin’s most chronically homeless residents. Graham’s grand vision: to lift up hundreds of Austin’s homeless with housing, jobs and, most importantly, a sense of belonging.

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