Tiny houses are not just trendy dwellings for enviro-conscious millennials and families on a budget. A growing movement embraces tiny homes as a solution to an age-old issue: homelessness.
While traditionally constructed tiny houses on wheels may not be very practical for someone surviving on the streets, portable houses built from salvaged material provide a cost-effective housing option for many homeless Americans.
These housing units are built from salvaged and low cost materials.
Mobile Loaves and Fishes Seeks Community First
In Austin, Texas, the vision goes beyond just providing basic shelter. Fostering a sense of community is arguably what’s most needed. One man formed a 200 unit community to help chronically homeless Texans find some stability. Alan Graham of Mobile Loaves and Fishes is the person behind the plan for Community First Village.
Alan Graham, originator of the Community First Village concept.
We haven’t converted everybody, but when people come out here they go, ‘Oh!’ They see a chapel; they see medical and vocational services on site, and they learn that residents will not live there for free; they’ll pay a monthly rent.
So far they have attracted 100 residents to their 27 acre development and things are going well, boasting a nearly 90% success rate at getting and keeping people off the streets!
Their designs go a little beyond just houses built from salvaged lumber. They have developed a fundraising program to get sponsors for the 200 units they are planning, so that each one can be built according to community building standards.
It’s estimated that getting 200 homeless back on their feet and off of public assistance programs could save the Lone Star State about $10 million dollars each and every year.
This teepee serves as a “bed and breakfast” for visitors to Community First Village.
Greenovation Takes the Lead In New York
In Rochester New York, Rochester Greenovation is working to design plans for houses built from salvaged materials, using free labor from volunteers.
The homes use scrapped lumber – such as old pallets – and discarded windows.
This is one of the designs under consideration by Greenovations.
As with Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Greenovations is focusing on more than just providing shelter. They have discussed options for heating, sanitation, cooking, and location and transportation of the shelters.
Survival Pods for the Homeless
Utah resident Gary Pickering was once homeless for six years. Out of that experience came his concept for survival pods for the homeless. Utah’s northern climate can mean harsh winters, with those suffering from exposure often not surviving.
One of Gary Pickering’s designs ready for habitation.
Pickering built his first survival pod for a homeless man he spotted walking in the cold one day, but later could not find him to deliver his gift. Pickering’s latest efforts include creating videos demonstrating salvage and construction techniques. He hopes homeless people will be able to use his methods to build their own shelters.
Some have suggested that Gary develop his houses built from salvaged materials into a business, but that was never his intention. Instead, he hopes that those with means would help build shelters for others, and work with the homeless to pay off the cost over time.
I didn’t do this as a business, I don’t want a business. I want to inspire other people.