User Login    
 + Register
TV Banner
News : Tiny Houses Help Address Nation's Homeless Problem
Posted by Randy on 2014/2/26 6:44:13 (174 reads) News by the same author

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- While tiny houses have been attractive for those wanting to downsize or simplify their lives for financial or environmental reasons, there's another population benefiting from the small-dwelling movement: the homeless.

Click to see original Image in a new window

There's a growing effort across the nation from advocates and religious groups to build these compact buildings because they are cheaper than a traditional large-scale shelter, help the recipients socially because they are built in communal settings and are environmentally friendly due to their size.

"You're out of the elements, you've got your own bed, you've got your own place to call your own," said Harold "Hap" Morgan, who is without a permanent home in Madison. "It gives you a little bit of self-pride: This is my own house."

He's in line for a 99-square-foot house built through the nonprofit Occupy Madison Build, or OM Build, run by former organizers with the Occupy movement. The group hopes to create a cluster of tiny houses like those in Olympia, Wash., and Eugene and Portland, Ore.

Many have been built with donated materials and volunteer labor, sometimes from the people who will live in them. Most require residents to behave appropriately, avoid drugs and alcohol and help maintain the properties.

Still, sometimes neighbors have not been receptive. Linda Brown, who can see the proposed site for Madison's tiny houses from her living room window, said she worries about noise and what her neighbors would be like.

"There have been people who have always been associated with people who are homeless that are unsavory types of people," she said.

Organizer Brenda Konkel hopes to allay neighbors' concerns by the time the City Council votes in May on the group's application to rezone the site of a former auto body shop to place the houses there. Plans include gardens, a chicken coop and possibly bee hives and showers and bathrooms in the main building.

"I think a lot of them we can work through. I think there is some ways we can be a real asset to the neighborhood," she said.

The group has already built one house that's occupied by a couple and parked on the street. A volunteer moves it every 24 or 48 hours as required by city ordinances.

The house, which cost about $5,000, fits a double bed with overhead storage, a small table and a small room with a compostable toilet. There's no plumbing or electricity, but the home is insulated and has a propane heater to get the residents through the harsh Wisconsin winters.

Organizers want to eventually add solar panels.

Morgan, who has struggled with a spinal cord surgery, alcohol addiction and unemployment, lives in a trailer provided by OM Build. He hopes to work as a cook again.

"My goal is to go back to that and get my own place, but it's really nice to have this to fall back on," he said.

The tiny house effort in Eugene, Ore., sprung up after the city shut down an Occupy encampment that turned into a tent city for the homeless. Andrew Heben and others worked with the city, which provided them with land for the project.

Opportunity Village Eugene opened in September with little resistance, said Heben, 26, who is on the board of directors. Most of the nine huts, which are 60 square feet, and 21 bungalows, which are 64 square feet and 80 square feet, are already built.

Thirty people are living in them now, and he expects 40 to 45 residents ultimately. The houses don't have electricity, water, bathrooms, showers or kitchens, but separate shared buildings do.

They've done it all for less than $100,000, which is about half the median home price in Eugene, all from private donors with no taxpayer money. He said the story has changed from how tent cities were a problem in America to how the community is banding together.

"It's an American success story. ... Now we see in different cities people coming up with citizen driven solutions," Heben said.

Ministries in Texas and New York also are developing communities with clusters of small houses.

Mobile Loaves and Fishes plans 135 small homes and 100 recreational vehicles on 27 acres near Austin, Texas.

The Christian ministry that started 15 years ago bringing food and clothing to the homeless hopes to raise $7 million to build the homes, streets, utilities, sewers, a farming operation, medical facility and sanctuary, President and CEO Alan Graham said.

Residents would pay rent that ranges from $90 a month for a 150-square-foot home to $375 for 400 square feet.

"The goal is to reach everybody where they are economically," Graham said.

He expects a staff of 15 will run the village, with residents having the option to get paid to help with upkeep.

Community Faith Partnership near Ithaca, N.Y., has built six of up to 18 planned 320-square-foot houses as transitional living for homeless men, said Jim Crawford, the group's executive director.

The men will pay rent on a sliding scale that looks at their situation and whether they receive government aid.

The heart of the operation will be a community center where people who aren't social can learn to relate to others in a safe environment, Crawford said.

"We are bringing people into tangible housing but we are bringing them also into much less tangible human framework of social relations and that is the more difficult work," he said. "That is the more sophisticated work."

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2014/8/29 10:05:43 - Lawson Softball Tips Chillicothe, 3-2
2014/8/29 9:51:45 - Truman State Hoops Coach Leaves For Pro Job
2014/8/29 9:50:00 - CHS Lady Hornet Volleyball Opens Season With Sweep Of Trenton
2014/8/29 9:40:04 - Softball Scoreboard : Gallatin Tips Milan 2-1
2014/8/29 9:22:50 - Savannah Tennis Beats Trenton, 8-1
2014/8/29 7:28:34 - Amber And Jim Shippen Latest Contributors To WMH Foundation
2014/8/29 6:20:30 - Hamilton Resident Life Flighted After Accident South Of Cameron
2014/8/29 5:21:37 - Trenton Downtown Improvement Association Approves Loans For Building Projects
2014/8/29 4:35:36 - Crews In Hazmat Suits Search Springfield Home For Ricin
2014/8/29 4:27:55 - Suspect In 6-Year-Old's Death Charged With First-Degree Murder
2014/8/29 4:23:52 - Missouri Unveils Aid Effort To Ferguson Businesses
2014/8/29 4:19:11 - Cat-Astrophic Revelation Purr-Turbs Hello Kitty Fans
2014/8/29 4:15:39 - 4-Year-Old Expelled Over His Mother's Facebook Post
2014/8/29 4:10:25 - Date Set For Local Recount On "Right To Farm" Issue
2014/8/29 4:03:50 - One Injury In Accident West Of Trenton
2014/8/28 15:01:25 - KC Royals Turning Back Clock To 1974
2014/8/28 14:50:00 - Milan Coaches Shows For Thursday, 8/28/14
2014/8/28 12:50:00 - Chillicothe Hornets Have Dominant Tennis, Golf Performances
2014/8/28 12:32:42 - KC Royals Urge Fans To "Wear Blue" For Rare Sunday Night Game
2014/8/28 12:27:24 - KC Royals Place Top Prospect Starling In Arizona Fall League
2014/8/28 12:21:45 - Brookfield Wins Extra-Inning Showdown With Penney, 3-2
2014/8/28 10:00:00 - Circuit Court At Trenton Busy With Cases
2014/8/28 9:54:14 - Firm Interested In Building Solar Farm North Of Trenton
2014/8/28 9:50:00 - Cameron Woman Injured In I-35 Accident
2014/8/28 9:50:00 - North Harrison Spoils Princeton's Home Opener, 3-1
2014/8/28 9:47:23 - Lawyer Criticizes Missouri Child Abuse Proposal
2014/8/28 9:41:40 - KC Chiefs Add To Line Depth, Signing Veteran McGlynn
2014/8/28 9:40:00 - Parents Complain About Alleged Punishment At Columbia Elementary School
2014/8/28 9:28:34 - More Than 200 Missouri Bills Become Law Today
2014/8/28 9:24:57 - Missouri Dairy Farmers Urge Veto Override



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM