What I like most about the following articles and stories is the repeated message of "Citizen Driven Solutions." Most of these efforts were spawned from open demonstrations by the community at large calling an end to inhumane treatment of the homeless, but they do not "solve" the "problem," by any means. What they do is address the most obvious aspects of "providing housing," giving the homeless, at least, the first level of human need, that I have been reiterating, shelter with safety, security and human dignity. But, without preparatory shelter and education, it only allows the working homeless to move up to "living on the edge" of Homelessness. They might "squeak by" financially, but that is only a "stop gap" measure for a few, and way too simplistic to say it will "solve homelessness."
The Portland Community believes that you must provide housing BEFORE you can address addictions that go along with homelessness/hopelessness. In the most basic sense, I believe they are right, but only to the degree that the Homeless need a safe and secure shelter, before all else. The "Housing First" Program has demonstrated that when you give housing that is beyond the skills to sustain a home and be a good neighbor, there is often failure to sustain, let alone progress. At best they maintain a life on the edge. Repeated failures lead to Despair and Hopelessness, and often put them back on the street. Even tenants remain IN the (transitional) housing community, these "villages" often become the new ghetto equivalent. They breed discontent and become plagues on the neighboring communities. They can BECOME a later developmental stage of transitional housing/transformational lives, when/as sufficient housing for all the street homeless of the community is addressed, and these "solutions" are offered as an option to progress to.
Bay to Bay Services.org proposal addresses, in detail, these as well as many other foundational and transitional steps for success. CLICK HERE to see how the fatal flaws of the following proposed tiny housing villages are addressed in the BtBS program. If you're not already receiving the newsletters of the Healing Homelessness Proposal and Guide being offered, please sign up your email and be part of the community making a difference.
The Huffing Post post has a short video that speaks to a project in process that developed only after a torch lit public demonstration erupted after the mayor destroyed the tent city. Now, they have an extremely lovely community planned which will rent 192sf tiny homes for $250-350/month. Still not addressing the majority of the homeless, let alone the mental/emotional state of the chronic street homeless.
The FIRST ARTICLE, I believe, comes closest to the mark. It cites actions of several communities trying to alleviate the problem. New York is in process with tiny homes that will rent for $90 (for a micro home of 95 sf--9 1/2' x 10') to $375 for a 400 sf (family) home, neither have plumbing, nor electricity, which are provided in a common area. This does help people to not get settled or "too comfortable" where they will want to stay longer than necessary, but how do they stay in communication with jobs without enough electricity for cell phones/wake up alarms ? Another community sees it's center as a means to socializing, although they do not define how. Another suggests, at least, composting toilets in these electricity free 99 sf tiny homes (presumably for night) and thinks in terms of providing a community garden, bee hives, and ("main building") showers and bathrooms. After public pressure, the City Council voted to rezone the former site of a closed auto body shop. The immediate neighbors, however, already fear this site as attracting "unsavory types."
This is an excellent article from Associated Press, published in Jan.'14
In this Jan. 16, 2014 photo Betty Ybarra, 48, stands outside a tiny houses she and her boyfriend live in, in Madison, Wis. It is the first house built by OM Build, which wants to build nine houses in Madison for the homeless. (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger)
BY CARRIE ANTLFINGER
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.
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 coup 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.
Eventually, organizers want to 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 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 to ultimately be there. 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."
CLICK HERE to connect with a short Video and Inspirational pictures of a Low Income Tiny House Community being built in Portland Oregon. This project, again, came about after a mass protest, with burning torches, to the destruction of yet another Tent City, ordered by the Mayor of Portland, OR. He and the city arose to the "wake up call" and the Mayor approved the construction of a Tiny House Community for those earning $5,000- $15,000/year. These 192 sf homes are open, airy, lovely and fully contained with a central laundry and other amenities. They will rent for $250-$350/month. Portland plans on having them ready for occupancy by Feb. 2015.
When the economy crashed and Jaclyn was being forced from her home due to foreclosure, she knew she wanted more than just a roof over her head. She wanted to travel, and have adventures, but didn't want to live in an RV. She wanted her home to be soul inspiring and nurturing, but needed to create it on a shoe-string budget. So, with minimal funds and a little help from her friends, she built her tiny traveling sanctuary.
In this blog, you'll find the story of Jaclyn's journey from foreclosure to Living Large, Tiny in her Gypsy Island Sanctuary.
Go here for her story.
To stay in touch with new design alternatives, coding clues, and updates on my Tiny Gypsy Island Sanctuary Tips and Travels, and upcoming book release,
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