The tiny houses making headlines today aren’t always the cool new micro dwellings for downsizers and creative nomads. In fact, if you set a Google alert for tiny homes, you’ll see that one topic comes up almost daily: tiny houses for the homeless.
Embracing a strategy of “Housing First” – the idea that addressing homelessness starts with giving folks a place to live – U.S. cities like Dallas, Detroit, and Portland already have micro home communities for the low-income or homeless up and running. New proposals are emerging in towns big and small all the time.
Below, check out an overview of 10 different tiny house villages for the underprivileged that have arisen over the last decade stateside, listed from the newest to oldest. The fact that they involve varying scales, amenities, and operating models suggests that whether tiny houses are a solution to homelessness is a question just as complex as addressing homelessness overall.
Are there initiatives like these happening in your area? Feel free to share in the comments below.
1. CASS Community Tiny Homes – Detroit, Michigan
Who: Local organization CASS Community Social Services, focused on fighting poverty
What: A two-block stretch of 250 to 400-square-foot fully-equipped micro dwellings for the low-income population, including students, seniors, and the formerly homeless; tenants pay rent of between $250 and $400 a month on a rent-to-own model.
Cost: $1.5 million, so far funded by donations from local companies and organizations, including a $400,000 contribution from Ford.
2. A Tiny Home for Good – Syracuse, New York
Who: Local non-profit A Tiny Home for Good
What: A growing collection of 300-square-foot houses for people who have faced homelessness, focusing on U.S. veterans. Each house is built on vacant city lot and offers a living area, bed, kitchen, bathroom, and access to a professional care manager; tenants pay rent determined on a sliding scale based on income.
Cost: Each unit cost $28,500 and was primarily built with volunteer labor and donated supplies. The majority of the funding comes from private donations; the rest come from grant support and resident rent (30 percent of a resident’s monthly income).
Current status: Five houses completed to date, with four more slated to break ground in August 2017 and seven more in 2018 if all goes according to plan.
3. Infinity Village – Nashville, Tennessee
Who: Rev. Jeff Obafemi Carr of interfaith group Infinity Fellowship, in collaboration with Dwayne A. Jones, owner of a construction company in Memphis
What: Six colorful 60-square-foot shelters for the homeless, housed at Nashville’s Green Street Church of Christ – each unit can hold a murphy bed, mini-fridge, microwave, hybrid heating/AC.
Cost: $50,000, raised on GoFundMe
Current status: Fundraising to build out “Infinity Center,” a 4,300-square-foot community space geared towards youth and families. The Infinity Village project also served as a model for a similar development at Nashville’s Green St. Church, a project that has received a $120,000 gift from the city.
Photo at top: Shareable.net