Several groups across the United States are building microhouses for the homeless. See a few of the different options:
144 square feet is the size of the average McMansion master bathroom. However, for residents at Quixote Village, those 144 square feet represent an entire universe. As the New York Times recently reported, the residents of the village are members of a long-nomadic homeless group called Camp Quixote—which had moved more than 20 times in the past seven years. On December 24, its members took up residence in 30 tiny homes, which each cost $19,000 to build.
Although the Times brought a ton of attention to it, Quixote Village is just one of a number of microhouse projects going on across the country. For example, a ten-year-old development in Portland called Dignity Village serves as a model for Quixote: A tent camp of roughly 60 homeless people, some of whom have set up shacks and cabins on the site, which is officially zoned as a “transitional housing campground.”
And in Provo, Utah, a local builder named Gary Pickering makes wheeled cabins, which he calls Dignity Roller Pods, for local homeless people. On his website, Pickering—who himself was once homeless—argues that “all homeless people should be able to stay on public lands that are clean and safe.”…
Meanwhile, in Madison, Wisconsin, a group run by Occupy Madison is in the process of building 30 even smaller microhouses for Madison’s homeless population.
It would be interesting to compare the costs of these tiny houses versus the costs of typical programs for the homeless, like shelters or other assistance programs. Are these tiny houses better long-term solutions in terms of cost and helping homeless people have more stable lives?
As the article notes, another issue here is where to find land to keep these tiny houses. Because of their size, they wouldn’t take up much space and some of them are quite mobile. Yet, having more permanent structures or spaces would likely meet with some disfavor by nearby residents.
All together, this sounds like an interesting application of tiny houses, but it will take some time to figure out whether they are long-term solutions to homelessness?
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