As living costs continue to rise and affordable housing is becoming harder to find, more and more people are finding themselves without a place to call home. A realistic solution to this problem is using tiny homes to provide shelter for the homeless. We're advocates for using tiny homes for homeless.
Tiny homes are small, portable structures that can be placed on a piece of land and provide basic shelter for those in need. They are often less expensive to build and maintain than traditional housing, and their small size makes them a more sustainable option. While some are extremely lux tiny homes, you can cut way back and make them basic and meet all the basic housing needs for homeless people, and keep the building cost of the tiny homes for under $15,000.
What makes tiny homes particularly attractive as a solution for homelessness is just that, they are an actual home, not just a shelter. This means it can provide a more stable and secure living environment for those who might otherwise be sleeping on the streets or in shelters. For homeless individuals who have experienced trauma or have mental health issues, a fixed location with a sense of ownership and belonging can be incredibly important for improving their overall well-being.
Some cities have been putting shelters in parks or vacant land. But one big challenge to using tiny homes to house the homeless is finding the right piece of land on which to put the homeless community of tiny homes. In most cities that struggle with homelessness, land is expensive and in high demand, and it can be difficult to find a location that is both affordable and accessible to transportation, services and support. There may also be regulatory issues that make it difficult to place tiny homes in certain areas. Then there’s the added challenge and cost of bringing in the utilities, like sewer, water and electricity. And to top it all off, deciding if the Tiny House will be on wheels (a true THOW ) or a tiny house on a foundation.
Yes! There are some organizations and communities that are working to overcome the challenges in order to provide (tiny) homes for the homeless.
A great example of a community using tiny homes for the homeless is the “OpportUNITY” tiny house village in Eugene, Oregon. This community that was started by SquareOne Villages ( a registered 501(c)3 ) was created to provide housing for homeless individuals and families. OpportUNITY village can fit a dozen tiny homes, providing a private living space for one or two people. Another great part about OpportUNITY village is that it has a communal kitchen and laundry facilities, as well as access to services like counseling and job training, so there’s more support than just shelter.
There’s also the Community First! Village in Austin, Texas. This tiny home community is a 51-acre community specifically designed for the homeless. The village consists of tiny homes, RVs, and micro-homes, as well as amenities like a medical clinic, a community garden, and a chapel. Community First! Village is operated by the 501(c)3 Mobile Loaves & Fishes and they specifically aim to help their residents by providing a supportive and healing community for the homeless, and to help them transition back into society off the streets for good.
We believe tiny homes are an effective solution for homelessness, but we admit they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some homeless individuals may have complex needs that require more comprehensive support and services, such as mental health treatment or addiction recovery. In these cases, tiny homes alone may not be able to address these needs. But perhaps they could still be part of the solution.
As part of a larger system of support and services, tiny homes can be an important step towards helping the homeless transition back into society and regain control of their lives. And as the demand for affordable housing continues to grow, we hope that we will see more and more communities turning to tiny homes as a solution for homelessness.