This article first appeared in Texas Lifestyle Magazine on November 26, 2018.
Central Texas real estate agents are bringing some much-needed holiday cheer in the form of a new house and new way of living to a homeless Austinite.
This fall, Carol Dochen, founder of Dochen Realtors, along with her 12 team members, committed $20,000 of personal donations to fund and build a new micro-home located within Community First! Village, a 51-acre master planned community dedicated to transitioning Austin’s chronically homeless population.
A micro-home provides a formerly homeless individual the opportunity to live in a safe and secure environment. With 200 square feet of living space, the house is fully furnished with a new bed and bedding, a living area, small refrigerator, and a wrap-around porch. Residents share an outdoor art studio, cinema, library, communal bathrooms and kitchens with access to healthy food through the community’s organic vegetable garden and an on-site grocery.
Founded by Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Community First! Village offers affordable, permanent housing, along with a supportive community for the chronically homeless living in Central Texas. Within the Village, residents find a sense of belonging, encouragement, community involvement, job-skill development and employment opportunities.
“I’m proud to be part of our city’s ‘giving’ culture,” says Carol Dochen, founder,
“After touring Community First! Village, I knew I had to make a commitment to help,” says Dochen. “It was simply a question of how we get started and when to begin.” Dochen’s personal philanthropic energy runs the same track as her business. She has built her 35-year real estate career around helping others find their dream home, while assisting Austin’s less fortunate citizens gain access to housing.
For more than 20 years, Dochen has donated a portion of every home sale to Austin’s Habitat for Humanity and Foundation Communities, allowing both organizations to continue building homes and offering affordable housing to Austinites. In addition, she makes time to deliver meals to the elderly through the Meals On Wheels program.
Members of Dochen’s real estate team play a role in philanthropy throughout the year as well, however, funding a micro-home for the Community First! Village proved to be a special opportunity that brought everyone on the team together to participate in its creation. With the addition of Dochen Realtors’ micro-home, Community First! Village reached a significant milestone by closing Phase I of its 230-home master planned community.
As the holiday season approaches, Dochen summarizes her group’s philosophy, “As a culture, we tend to talk about philanthropy on Giving Tuesday and during the holidays, but I know many Austinites are doing their part year-round. I’m proud to be part of our city’s ‘giving’ culture. It’s just part of who we are at Dochen Realtors.”
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.
Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy.