Koinonia Communities is a vision that many people have had – a place to do more than just house displaced people, but a place where broken people experience true community. For Ronnie and Penny Haynes, this vision began around 2001, and manifested itself in a few ways throughout the years.
First was the call to help a Nurse Practitioner friend start a local free and low-cost health care clinic, Bethesda Community Clinic. Penny helped with the marketing and fundraising, set up the administrative office, and trained registration volunteers while Ronnie helped with remodeling the clinic site and fundraising.
Next was the call to start a local Celebrate Recovery group, a proven Christ-centered 12 step program at the church where they attended.
When the church closed, Ronnie and Penny decided to start a church for the Recovery group that would be displaced. That church is called Ministry House, and it’s focus is to be a hospital for the broken, a way station along people’s journey toward healing. It started in a double-wide home where the church would also house homeless individuals for short-term stays. Some were ex-offenders, and some just people who had fallen on hard times. They also opened their home to help people who had nowhere to go.
Then came the word from God that set Koinonia Communities in motion. Penny’s desire to create a community for the homeless had been building over the past 4 years, and finally she heard God instruct her to look up “homeless campground”. There she found Mobile Loaves and Fishes (MLF), a 14 year old Austin, TX ministry to the homeless that had built a 27 acre master planned community called Community First! that housed chronically homeless individuals in RVs and tiny homes. They were just starting to move residents into the tiny houses starting June 22, 2016.
Not wanting to re-invent the wheel, Penny decided to learn more about this new community and use it as the basis for Koinonia Communities, since MLF had paved the way (literally) and they wanted to share the lessons they had learned in the decade it took to create their community. She contacted the Inn Keeper, asked questions, and realized that our community would need modifications, not only because our vision included transitional and emergency shelter, but also because MLF, unlike Koinonia, did not have any zoning compliance issues outside of the city limits.
Penny met with Planning and Zoning and happily found people that were eager to house the homeless, and confirmed that a private campground setting would work. The solution: tiny homes as cabins in a campground setting for transitional housing up to one year and to provide permanent housing for full-time volunteer staff. Also included in the plan is a lodge and emergency shelter providing room and board for transitional housing, bath houses, outdoor kitchens, an on site Clinic and kennel, and a main community building would work with the county code.
Since we have started this journey, Ronnie and Penny opened a THOR approved Men’s Recovery House in Jasper, GA in 2017 called Good Shepherd Recovery House with 36 acres and an 8200 square foot house that was donated for the cause. They minister primarily to ex-offenders and men who would otherwise be homeless to help them regenerate their minds, learn healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the realities of life, rebuild their relationships, help them find new jobs, counsel with any family members, and help them begin a healthy new life.
So the journey has begun to find the people God had already hand-picked to make this vision a reality. If you are one of those people who knows they are called to Koinonia Communities, please use the contact us form and let us know in which area you called to serve. If you are called to support us financially, use the Donate Now button below. We are waiting for you to add your gifts, talents and resources to the team!