Can Tiny Houses be a Solution to Homelessness?

According to recent surveys, there are more than half a million homeless people in the US, with further several million at risk of being homeless at some point in the future. These are staggering statistics that showcase rising income inequality, as well as lack of social safety nets and programs. Many urban centers are trying to battle homelessness by constructing shelters, or renovating abandoned buildings. There are several reasons why people choose to build tiny houses for sale in NJ. Recently there has been a move towards building tiny house communities to house the homeless population in some areas.


Homeless Problem

Besides the fact that they are homeless, most of the people in this situation are often faced with a number of other problems such as mental and physical illness, substance abuse, financial debt or just general social exclusion. There is still a huge stigma towards homeless people, portraying them as lazy, unwilling to work or lead a more socially acceptable life etc. Yes, homeless people do have a lot of problems and issues that are contributing to their situation but at the same time, a huge number of them have ended up homeless as a result of an unfortunate circumstance, a mistake they have made or because they didn’t have any other choice. All this, makes it very challenging to tackle the problem, especially when the funding is often low and organizations depend on donations.


The Rise of Tiny House Communities for the Homeless

Tiny houses are growing trend in the US, and many people are turning to them due to economic, ecological or lifestyle reasons. The main selling point of tiny houses is that they offer affordable and sustainable housing for people, while allowing the owners freedom to live a fuller life and explore different opportunities. It is no wonder that tiny houses are very appealing idea in connection with solving homelessness problem in the urban areas. Homeless shelters are often severely underfunded, have issues with safety, hygiene and privacy. A lot of people believe in Housing First strategy as the correct approach to solving the problem, and providing housing for people in need as the starting point. This has led to some cities and non-profits starting tiny housing projects across the US.


Currently, there are 10 official tiny house communities for homeless and low-income people. Communities have opened up in Detroit, Syracuse, Nashville, Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, Austin, Dallas with dozens of cities preparing their own projects or passing regulation as the groundwork for them. You can check out some of the communities that have popped up here.

The communities have been built using different kinds of materials, different financing models etc. Some only rent the houses, some have rent-to-own models, some are free of charge for people who qualify. Some focus on the veterans as at-risk group, others have no such restrictions. Tiny houses provide the opportunity to build affordable housing that the city can finance and actually build communities for people that need help. This is of great importance since that way additional services and support to the homeless can be offered. It is much easier to do that when all the housing is located in one area. At the same time, this helps with resistance and backlash that the city might feel from local residents, if they tried to locate such housing in already established residential areas. The stigma is real and it will take a long time for the public to embrace the problem and support the solutions.

Tiny houses will not eradicate the homeless problem in the US. It is a systemic problem that needs to be addressed on various levels. Still, current initiatives are using the advantages of tiny homes as a way to help alleviate a serious problem the US is facing in the urban areas.

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