At $2,200 each, tiny houses can shelter the homeless

Being able to live in an insulated or heated tiny house instead of a tent is a huge improvement for families and individuals experiencing homelessness.

TINY houses resonate with us in many ways. Maybe we have fond childhood memories playing in a treehouse or playing with blocks to build toy houses. Tiny houses are not just cute and cozy, but symbolize shelter, warmth and security.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council have been struggling with the dramatic rise in homelessness (a 19 percent increase from 2015 to 2016 in King County) and how to protect vulnerable people who are living unsheltered on the streets. Why not respond to the crisis by quickly building inexpensive tiny houses to keep people warm and safe now? That strategy, and other affordable housing strategies, were at the center of the NeighborWorks Training Institute held last week in Seattle.

Being able to live in an insulated or heated tiny house instead of a tent is a huge improvement for families and individuals experiencing homelessness. Begun as an experiment in 2014, the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), a member of the nationwide NeighborWorks network, worked in partnership with Nickelsville to upgrade encampment shelters from tents to tiny houses.

Shelter the homeless in tiny homes

Watch a video on the Low Income Housing Institute’s tiny house program: https://vimeo.com/185758724

There are now 50 tiny houses located in Ballard, the Central Area and the Othello neighborhood of Rainier Valley. Homeless families are now able to stay short term in tiny houses while LIHI case managers work intensively with them to secure permanent…

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