Tim Shea has struggled for most of his life, experiencing both addiction and periods of homelessness.
Now 70, his life has turned around thanks to getting sober and receiving the gift of a lifetime: a secure home that he can call his own. In fact, he is now the first-ever recipient of a 3D-printed house!
The home was built by Icon DC Technology using a Vulcan II printer. These unique models are 400 square feet, and their owners can choose from four different layouts. All of the designs feature one bedroom, one bathroom, a living space, a full kitchen, and a front porch.
Tim chose the open floor plan because he has arthritis and may require a wheelchair in the future.
Each of these new 3D-printed homes sits in a tiny village called Community First! in Austin, Texas. The nonprofit was started by philanthropist Alan Graham and his Mobile Loaves & Fishes, a project aimed at housing the thousands of people who are living on the streets in Texas.
The Community First! village has tiny houses — including many 3D-printed ones — for about 500 residents now. Each resident is given the opportunity to get a job on site and pay just $300 a month in rent.
As the first resident of the village, Tim can confirm that his 3D-printed home is clean and comfortable. Even better, it has made him feel safe and secure for the first time in his life.
"I hope I stay here until my last dying days," he told NY Post.
Before moving in to his current residence, Tim was living in an RV. The lifestyle made him feel cut off from the world.
"I didn't feel secure, and anytime I had the opportunity, I would hide or isolate. I never really wanted to interact with people," he explained. Now that he feels safe, he's branching out in the village and making new friends!
"It's a sense that I've settled somewhere, and it's such a way of embracing me," Tim said. "I feel like I am embraced in this house. There are no tight corners, it's rounded, it feels like it envelops me. I just love sitting in there and looking at the interior of it. It's just a very comfortable, very warm, welcoming place, and I am so proud to be living in it."
Jason Ballard, the cofounder and CEO of Icon, said the start-up company is honored to be part of something that will "make dignified housing accessible to everyone, everywhere."
Tim still can't believe he's allowed to live in such a wonderful, clean space.
"It's just a miracle to me to be living there in a house this beautiful," he said. "I could never have imagined from where I came from that I would ever have this beautiful place to live in."
Tim is the first of many people whose lives will be forever changed by this incredible project!
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