Intentional communities are planned residential communities designed from the ground up to address a specific social challenge and foster a high degree of cohesion among residents. Similar to co-housing models that are peer based or inter-generational, intentional communities are organized around health and wellness, an economic benefit, or a collective purpose. Bastion is America’s first intentional community created to address the physical, emotional, and social challenges faced by veteran families with life-long rehabilitative needs. The purpose of the community is: (a) to incorporate a development strategy that not only creates affordable housing and community-based supports for a defined number of households who need it the most, but also (b) to leverage a collective impact approach by providing resources to help more families in the metro New Orleans area.

Many veteran families in our target population have a unique vulnerability to social isolation and poor health outcomes which demands a higher level of community-based support in a proximal living environment. Social connectedness is one of the most important resources available at Bastion. Injured veterans live alongside retired military and volunteers who give six hours of service each week to support their neighbor. Through service and free on-site wellness programing, all play an integral role in the collective positive health outcomes of the community through relationship building and peer support.

Bastion’s impact is best described by one of our residents who states “After serving in the armed forces, I was no stranger to loss and was having a tough time adjusting to life after service. I found myself seeking assistance in different places but nothing seemed to truly help, until Bastion. When I moved in I was immediately greeted by my neighbors and other residents. Living here has made making friends so easy, which was once a challenge for me. I felt depressed for a long time, but Bastion has changed everything. So the answer to why I moved into Bastion is quite simple, I found peace and connectedness to those around me. I have a new purpose. I have done more in my first 2 months living here then I have done in the last 2 years.”

Phase 1 of the Bastion Community consists of 38 households for a total of 76 residents. The community represents 19 deployments to the Middle East and Central Asia, and over 196 years of combined military service. Phase 2 is underway and will add 20 more families to the community by August 2018.

“Bastion is honored to be presented with this award from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation and it is humbling to have the backing of such a respected, veteran-centric organization,” said Dylan Tête, founder and Executive Director of Bastion. “With this support, Bastion will continue to expand and improve its ability to provide the community, resources and services our returning warriors need and deserve.”

To learn more about Bastion Community of Resilience visit www.joinbastion.org