Tiny Homes for Homeless

If the cost mentioned in the Eureka Times-Standard, is accurate—$100,000 to house 35 people—that seems pretty cost effective compared to most other Housing First options, and should be looked at, perhaps as part of a homeless transformation campus we put forth as a strategy in our recent Press Release posted here yesterday.

An excerpt from the story.

A host of affordable housing advocates, local community members and county officials gathered in Bayside on Saturday to view what one organization states is a proven method to transition members of the homeless population back into the community while still allowing their independence.

On the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship grounds in Bayside, an exposition of small hand-crafted structures that served as bedrooms, a greenhouse, and even a shower and sauna stood lined up in a row with visitors able to look inside. While the structures not be large, the Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives organization has used these structures to create small villages in which members of the homeless population can live in a community setting.

“There should be a lot of different kinds of camps because there are a lot of different kinds of people,” AHHA board member Edie Jessup said.

The organization has already created these tiny villages in Eugene, Oregon; Olympia, Washington; Madison, Wisconsin; and Austin, Texas — and is now calling on Eureka and Humboldt County to collaborate with AHHA and local organizations to start their own. A four-member panel discussion at Saturday’s event addressed some of the barriers and issues that go along with implementing and maintaining such establishments.

One of the panelists was the Housing Humboldt co-Executive Director Beth Matsumoto, whose nonprofit organization just celebrated a new affordable housing complex in Arcata reaching full capacity this week. But Matsumoto said “a continuum of housing that needs to be provided for different segments of people” who may not be ready to transition into permanent housing. Four of the units of the new site were set aside for chronically homeless individuals.

Jessup said that after several years of living on the street, a homeless person may find it difficult to transition to a life of stable employment and housing. As a temporary alternative, she said that the small community style villages would fulfill the basic needs of food, shelter and access to health services first, and then allow them to move on to employment and education if they so choose.

“Until they’re stabilized with those things, they’re not going to move on,” she said.

But in order to make the new Arcata Bay Crossing affordable housing units possible, Matsumoto said a “lasagna layer of a financial package” was required, with the more than $5 million needed to complete the project being funded by several sources.

The tiny villages would be much less expensive, according to AHHA President Nezzie Wade, who said that the Opportunity Village in Eugene cost a total of $100,000 and provided housing for 35 people. However, Wade said that the village has “suffered” because the city provided minimal support.

Retrieved September 28, 2015 from http://www.times-standard.com/general-news/20150926/stakeholders-discuss-concept-of-tiny-village-for-homeless

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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