“Part of the Whidbey Institute’s path is to help people find their own authentic center point, the place in themselves where they are able to be at ease, to be resilient, to be flexible, and to be at peace.” —Joel Shrut

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Thriving Communities Conference 2015: Shelter

March 19, 2015 - March 21, 2015


“Shelter is far beyond a physical place. It provides a safety net, an emotional space allowing people a chance to thrive.”
JOIN US Thursday, March 19, 4 pm – Saturday, March 21, 4 pm!


How does SHELTER Integrate a Thriving Community?

We hold these questions in mind:

What if everyone had . . .

⁃ Access to housing?
⁃ A safe place to sleep every night?
⁃ The ability to stay in their own homes as they age?
⁃ Choices for sustainable living?
⁃ The opportunity to own a home, even without qualifying for traditional financing?
⁃ And end to the cycle of homelessness?

What is shelter?

⁃ Is it affordable?
⁃ Are there transitional and drop-in alternatives?
⁃ Are homes safe & healthy, even for the elderly?
⁃ How do urban communities face shelter challenges?
⁃ What about rural ones?
⁃ What is our community responsibility?
⁃ How is access to housing impacted by age, gender, and locale?

Conference Schedule


Highlighting Specific Solutions

What if people could stay in their homes and be safe?

Hearts & Hammers – South Whidbey, WA

How does affordable housing impact a community?
Lopez Community Land Trust – Lopez Island, WA

How do we shelter youth needing immediate and long-term assistance?
Cocoon House – Everett, WA

How can a community nightmare became a community opportunity for the homeless?
Quixote Village – Olympia, WA

What unique choices are available for multiple generations living in a changing world?
Pocket Communities – Ross Chapin Architects

How can we meet the needs of the world today?
Thriving Communities Urban & Suburban Eco-Villages

Benefits of Participation

The three-day session will open space for dialogue and exploration together using the models presented in the videos and those that others bring to this gathering to:
• Help one other envision possibilities and practical outcomes
Explore how something might take hold in your community
Build networks of collaboration and support
• Slow down in this busy world, using the space to honor your work and hopes
Be fed in awesome ways by food, music, poetry, and our land, forest, and people

We will include toolbox sessions: lessons in how to implement change, from those who have started something new. Every organization featured in this year’s videos will be represented by in-person delegates, with team members sharing the challenges and opportunities they encountered in their work.

Who Should Come?

All ages are welcome and represented in this work, and members of every community are welcome. We have worked with communities of all types and sizes. We encourage you to bring at least one other member of your own community. Conversation continues more fruitfully at home if two or more have shared the conference experience. We encourage government officials, public representatives, and community activists to attend!

Why Should You Attend?

Shelter is an issue that is not going away. Each of us is touched by the challenges of shelter, and we can do something about it! Meet those who have done something, and continue in their life-changing work!

We will gather as active participants to share ideas both big and small. As a testimony to the success of this model, over thirty communities have already exchanged and implemented ideas from previous Thriving Communities gatherings. Mark your calendar for March 19-21, 2015!

Stay in Touch

There are many ways to stay in touch—before, during, and after the conference! Visit our Thriving Communities page for information regarding the 2012, 2013, and 2014 conferences; photos and videos and more on the history of this movement and our community of collaborators. We also are on Facebook. Join the conversation by asking to be added to the Thriving Communities group, where you can share your own news and updates, and by liking our page.

We welcome you to our 4th annual Thriving Communities Conference!


March 19, 2015
March 21, 2015