What is this thing called “The Village Movement”

We’re all about community here at New Avenue and in particular connecting people so they can better enjoy their home by keeping family and friends close (but not too close).

New Avenue makes it easier for people to complete a remodel or addition or to create an entirely new accessory dwelling.  We do so in order to enable multigenerational living or multipurpose homes that have offices.

There is a growing group of people who sign up to help each other out and it’s called “The Village Movement”.  I sent a quick note off to  the first name I found on The Village Network website and set up a call with Frank Hardnen, their publicity chair.

Here is a summary of his informative chat with me:

Tell me about yourself and why you are involved in the Village Movement: 

I am a retired astrophysicist who lives on a remote lake in the New Hampshire woods.  I retired early because I have lots of grandkids that I want to spend time with.  I started the village called Monadnock 8 years ago and it really got going 5 years ago.   There were 3 years of getting organized. We learned from the original village in the Village to Village network which is Beacon Hill Village in Boston.  We learned from them and replicated their model here.

What is The Village Movement? 

There are two levels in The Village Movement, the local villages and the national network.  The goal for all of us is to help older people able to stay in their home as long as possible and to do so safely and confidently.


How Does it Work? 

Once you are a member you simply call the local telephone number and the local executive director or another member will answer your call.  Then they will send out a screened vendor or they will send a volunteer driver.   Just a single call will get you what you need.

We have social engagements.  For example there is a maple syrup cooking and we had a women’s tea.  We had to make the tea co-ed though because the guys wanted to get involved.


What Does the Village Movement Do at the National Level?

The Village provides referral services such as shoveling snow, stacking wood or giving a ride to the doctor.  The #1 use is for transportation by volunteer drivers.

Most villages charge and annual membership fee of $450 for an individual to $600 for a household of 2 or more.

Minimum member age varies by village and minimum age limits include 0,50, 62 or 65.

At the national level the goal is to save individuals and eventually the entire country a lot of money plus it gets you what you really want.   The national level helps individual villages get set up.  It usually takes 1-3 years to get a local village going.  There are currently 200 villages with 50-75 in process and 25,000-30,000 members.

The grand plan is to grow and grow and grow!  We want to be part of the solution in this country and the world to the aging challenge.  There are villages in Australia, The Netherlands and Japan.

Do You Own an Accessory Dwelling? 

I have two detached cottages on my land.  They are for family and friends.  They are just guest rooms without a kitchen.

In conclusion, I believe the answer to my question of “What is this thing called the Village Movement” is that The Village Movement is just starting out but it could be a key part of creating a sustainable urban and suburban future, one that empowers good neighbors and long term ownership that creates true community.   Basically, it’s a big deal in the making!

More Info: 

To get involved to go to Village To Village Network: http://www.vtvnetwork.org/  and find information to contact your local village or start your own!


The Ashby Village in Berkeley, CA: http://www.ashbyvillage.org

North Oakland Village: http://www.northoaklandvillage.org/

San Mateo Village: shouston@peninsulafamilyservice.org

Marin/Mill Valley Village: http://www.marinvillages.org/

Marin/North San Rafael Village: http://www.marinvillages.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=134956&module_id=145410


You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.