Denali Village

Denali Village
An Intentional Neighborhood Model with Hope Community Resources

Painting of Denali Village concept by Jena Crafton


“It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.”

— Irish Proverb



Denali Village is a ground-up project. Wanting to create a meaningful, permanent home for their adult children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, two parents began working with their daughter—a 20-year resident of a life-sharing community (Camphill)—and Hope Community Resources to create an intentional, life-sharing community. For aging parents, knowing their adult children will be lovingly cared for once they are gone is crucial.

With first-hand knowledge and experience within a Camphill community, the initial steps were to more fully understand the philosophy, values, and workings of this model. The concepts to be embedded in Denali Village were studied, discussed, and finally carefully articulated in mission, values, guiding principles, and action statements. These form the basis for how the village will function, care for the individuals living there, and support the staff.


Project Overview

Denali Village will be a life-sharing community of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities where each person’s unique gifts and abilities are honored, cultivated, and celebrated. Villagers will be supported in activities that utilize their interests and strengths and will be encouraged in artistic ventures, gardening, caring for farm animals, cooking/baking, and self-employment, if desired. Denali Village will include a large garden, artist studio space, barn, pastures, retail space, and eventually a café/coffee shop/bakery.

We envision obtaining land in the Anchorage or Mat-Su Borough that is sufficient to accommodate several houses and common structures where celebrations, activities, and events can be held and include the larger community as well. Denali Village will be constructed in phases.



The mission of Denali Village is to create wholeness by nourishing social relationships, contributing to the community, and connecting to nature. Through farm life, artistic expression, and culinary arts, each individual may more fully unfold their potential and lead a meaningful life.


Guiding Principles

We begin with the belief in the wholeness of every person and that an inner light resides in each human. This means that the villagers are defined not by their disabilities or deficits, but rather are recognized for their humanity and as equals among us.

The staff and villagers respect one another. We find and nurture the gifts each person brings to the community by providing opportunities for creative expression and projects that meet the everyday needs of the group.

We believe that all is possible with humans. The staff and villagers can and should grow over time. Many staff realize they get as much back from villagers as they provide. This feedback loop keeps staff motivated to bring out the best in themselves and the residents. Hence, growth is proportional to the belief that all is possible.

Finally, we create a social community, where the staff and villagers all rely on each other, creating purpose, connectedness, and belonging. Denali Village is organized around equality rather than a traditional hierarchy. This may include giving someone with less experience a leadership and/or peer-to-peer support role and with that, staff will begin to see the value of relying on villagers more than in traditional services.

Importantly, our community will not self-isolate from the larger community. Our work involves both bringing the larger community to our space, as well as establishing a presence there and participating in community events.


Current Status and Next Steps

Planning has been underway for a few years. A planning grant and technical assistance from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority has enabled the hiring of an architectural firm, identification of funding streams, clarification of project goals, and outreach to inform others of the project.

With the architects, the planning group has identified needed square footage and basic conceptual parameters. Five teams of interns are developing plans, including building, mechanical, engineering, landscape, interior design and lighting.

Our next steps are to secure land and funding for the first phase of construction. Current plans are to build housing for eleven villagers and five staff in phase one. It will be a mixture of a four-bedroom group home and  triplex-type housing. Because it is so essential to our mission and purpose, we will also build a hub space where villagers and staff can join in group activities if desired and share meals and special events. This first phase will include artist studio space and a barn.


Application Process

Our target population is adults with developmental disabilities who have completed their education and who are a good fit for the environment we provide. To be successful, all residents must be committed to the collective philosophy and common values of Denali Village.  The village will offer a supportive environment where all residents are included and contribute to the common good of the community. This key component is vital to the success of Denali Village.

To be considered for residency, a multi-stage process will be followed.  This will include a preliminary consultation, an application, an interview, and a trial period. Our application process is meant to ensure goodness of fit for the community, the individual and the family or support team for the potential resident.


Contact Us

Do you have questions about Denali Village, or are you interested in learning more about it? Send us an email at [email protected].


A house in the Kenai Intentional Neighborhood. A house in the Kenai Intentional Neighborhood. A house in the Kenai Intentional Neighborhood.