Homelessness in the U.S. is not an issue that should be swept aside. There are currently over half a million people who are homeless throughout the U.S. According to the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, half of all people who were homeless came from just five states: California, New York, Florida, Texas, or Washington. In New York City alone, there are almost 80,000 people who are homeless.
According to the same report, the number of homeless people has risen in the past two years after a steady decline from 2007 to 2017. What can be done to combat this? Fortunately, there are homeless shelters and project communities that provide a roof and meals to those who are homeless. But what else can be done to give homeless people a chance to start a life when those services are overpopulated?
One option is tiny homes. Yes, these are houses that are actually tiny. They are equipped with everything one may need to live comfortably. These houses offer an affordable living solution to those who may be struggling or who have lost their homes. Most tiny houses have a bed, a kitchen, and a bathroom.
Many tiny house “villages” have begun to pop up around the country. One village, called Second Wind Cottages, is located in Newfield, New York. This village offers a structure with a bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom to homeless men. This community has 18 cottages offered to men who pay a “program fee” to help fund the operating costs of the community, however their website states that “not being able to pay does not in itself exclude a potential resident.”
Second Wind Cottages are funded by fundraising events, grants, donations, and private entities. All furnishings, including furniture and household items are donated to the community. According to Charter for Compassion, each cottage costs around $10,000 to build. The community even offers services such as drug and alcohol counselors, GED assistance, and social events to keep the community together.
While these communities are not free, they are definitely a step in the right direction towards reducing homelessness. To put this into perspective, check out how much it costs to build a tiny home in luxury areas compared to buying the cheapest house in that same area. If someone can save hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars by building a tiny home in one of these areas, imagine how many tiny homes (and villages) can be built in lower-income areas. Hopefully, if these villages prove to be successful, they can become the norm in the fight against homelessness.
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