How Eden Village of Richmond Got Started

How we came to be and those who got us here.

Eden Village of Richmond became a dream of the founder, Cathy Ritter, after she was involved with a local group that serves the homeless, Blessing Warriors RVA. Blessing Warriors volunteers go out to the streets daily to find, feed, and clothe the homeless in the Richmond, VA area. The group, founded and led by Rhonda Sneed, works tirelessly to show love and compassion to the homeless.

In 2019, a camp of tents was gradually set up at the Annie Giles Overflow Center in Richmond because that facility only opened when temperatures dropped below 40 degrees and was not available on a consistent basis to provide shelter for the homeless. The camp was named “Camp Cathy” in memory of Cathy Davis, a dear friend of Rhonda Sneed’s and co-founder of Blessing Warriors who passed unexpectedly. Eventually there were 150 tents set-up and Blessing Warriors had a central place to serve the homeless meals and to distribute clothes, shoes, and needed items.

Most importantly, this gave the residents a place to call “home”. It was well organized and there was a strong sense of community among the residents who love and respect Ms. Rhonda. This only lasted a few months before the City came with backhoes and tore down Camp Cathy. This was devastating to the residents as they watched in despair or returned to find their shelter and belongings gone. Most were forced to go back to the woods, parks, and streets with no shelter again.
After witnessing all these efforts, Ritter became overwhelmed with an urge to contact local agencies to try to come up with a solution to find homes for the homeless as a permanent solution. Having worked with other organizations such as WATTS, Habitat for Humanity, and The Appalachia Service Project to provide overnight shelter and build and rebuild homes for people, her first thought was to go to existing organizations to see if they could build homes to serve the chronically homeless, but this did not provide the solution Ritter was seeking.

Ritter then began researching other ways people across the country were addressing the issue of lack of housing and chronic homelessness and found several non-profits that were building tiny home communities across the country. Ritter found that one of these communities, Eden Village of Wilmington, was starting in the Wilmington, NC area and she was able to visit. After researching their model and speaking to their founder and the CEO of the original Eden Village in Springfield, Missouri, she knew this was the answer for the Richmond area.

These successful communities are beginning to spread across the country and a plan is already laid out to be modeled and shared rather than starting from scratch. Ritter then got her daughter and husband on board, got incorporated, formed a board of directors, and raised funds to sign a licensing agreement with The Gathering Tree, also known as Eden Village of Springfield in Missouri. Now here we are asking for our community to rally and get started in fundraising so OUR city can be a place where #NoOneSleepsOutside.

The Eden Village Story

How compassion has led to pride and progress.
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The Eden Village Story

How compassion has led to pride and progress.
play

Eden Village of Richmond Timeline

Non-Profit Status Approved

Eden Village of Richmond is officially a not-for-profit and can move forward in fundraising efforts to build a community for our homeless persons to get off the streets and into a home.
April, 2022
January, 2022

501(c)(3) Submitted for Approval

Form 1023, used to apply for 501(C)(3) non-profit status, was completed and submitted to the IRS for approval.

First Board of Directors Meeting

The first board of directors meeting was held electing officers, passing by-laws, a budget and agreeing to the licensing agreement with The Gathering Tree /Eden Village of Springfield. The same day the licensing agreement with Eden Village of Springfield was signed.
December, 2021
November, 2021

Eden Village of Richmond Became Incorporated

Once our incorporation was approved. We started a GoFundMe page to start the fundraising process in making our city a place where #NoOneSleepsOutside.

The Eden Village Concept Was Discovered

After seeing a Facebook post about an Eden Village starting in Wilmington, NC; Cathy visited their site which was in the beginning stages, with one house being used as an office. After speaking to Tom Dalton, the co-founder, and Shawn Hayes, the Executive Director, she also reached out to Nate Schlueter, Chief Visionary Officer for the original Eden Village of Springfield. Ritter then got her daughter and husband on board with the idea.
October, 2021
September, 2021

Tiny Home Concept Research

Ritter researched other organizations across the country who were building tiny homes for the homeless and created a spreadsheet of possibilities.

Ending Homelessness In Richmond Research

Cathy Ritter reached out to several local organizations about the possibility of starting a group to build homes for the homeless in the Richmond area but came to no solution.
August, 2021
April, 2022

Non-Profit Status Approved

Eden Village of Richmond is officially a not-for-profit and can move forward in fundraising efforts to build a community for our homeless persons to get off the streets and into a home.
January, 2022

501(c)(3) Submitted for Approval

Form 1023, used to apply for 501(C)(3) non-profit status, was completed and submitted to the IRS for approval.
December, 2021

First Board of Directors Meeting

The first board of directors meeting was held electing officers, passing by-laws, a budget and agreeing to the licensing agreement with The Gathering Tree /Eden Village of Springfield. The same day the licensing agreement with Eden Village of Springfield was signed.
November, 2021

Eden Village of Richmond Became Incorporated

Once our incorporation was approved. We started a GoFundMe page to start the fundraising process in making our city a place where #NoOneSleepsOutside.
October, 2021

The Eden Village Concept Was Discovered

After seeing a Facebook post about an Eden Village starting in Wilmington, NC; Cathy visited their site which was in the beginning stages, with one house being used as an office. After speaking to Tom Dalton, the co-founder, and Shawn Hayes, the Executive Director, she also reached out to Nate Schlueter, Chief Visionary Officer for the original Eden Village of Springfield. Ritter then got her daughter and husband on board with the idea.
September, 2021

Tiny Home Concept Research

Ritter researched other organizations across the country who were building tiny homes for the homeless and created a spreadsheet of possibilities.
August, 2021

Ending Homelessness In Richmond Research

Cathy Ritter reached out to several local organizations about the possibility of starting a group to build homes for the homeless in the Richmond area but came to no solution.

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