All About Tiny Homes: A Big Solution to Homelessness?

Tiny homes have been a hot topic lately, but they’re not just trendy as a dream home or the latest in luxury living. Organizations and governments around the country are harnessing tiny homes’ big potential to help house the Americans that most need an affordable place to live.

Writing for Shelterforce in 2019, Sharon Lee, the executive director of the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), reported on progress made in LIHI’s efforts to use tiny house villages as transitional housing for residents of Seattle experiencing homelessness.

According to Lee, Seattle/King County’s January 2018 Point-in-Time Count found 12,112 men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. The unsheltered population in Seattle alone accounted for 71% of this county-wide statistic. So when a new Seattle mayor, Jenny Durkan, took office, she made it a priority to rapidly rehouse the city’s unsheltered population in an innovative, cost-effective way.

LIHI, one of Seattle’s partners in the rapid rehousing effort, says that each tiny home costs just a couple thousand dollars to build. A village itself needs just four to six months to be constructed and an annual budget between $60,000 to $500,000 to provide anywhere from 20 to 70 people with housing and access to supportive services that will help them get back into a stable and more permanent home.

The Seattle Human Services Department notes that the villages have been incredibly cost effective. Spending on tiny house villages makes up less than 3% of the City of Seattle’s homeless response investments, yet the initiative accounts for almost 13% of all city-supported shelters.

City officials also observe that while many people they find living on the streets, such as couples and families, usually won’t agree to move into a temporary homeless shelter, they will agree to move into the city’s tiny house villages. While the city’s shelters typically house men and women separately, Seattle’s tiny homes allow for families to find housing together. Bővebben