Moving America Forward

Does It Take a (Tiny) Village to End Homelessness in America?

February 28, 2014
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Does It Take a (Tiny) Village to End Homelessness in America?
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How the small home revolution could be the key to big change.

At 144 square feet each, the 30 tiny homes in Quixote Village, aren’t exactly what you’d call luxury. There are showers, laundry facilities, a large vegetable garden and a communal kitchen. But for the 29 disabled and formerly homeless adults who are living there now, it’s their first real home in half a decade.

As Yes! Magazine reports, this nomadic group finally found a permanent home in Olympia, Wash. last Christmas after moving from parking lot to parking lot every 90 days for the last five years. These homes cost $19,000 each to build.

MORE: The Garden Cottages in Portland, Ore., show us how fulfilling sustainable living can be

As we previously reported, housing the homeless can cost significantly less than leaving them on the streets. Per the National Alliance to End Homelessness, “homelessness causes illnesses and makes existing mental and physical illnesses worse, leading to expensive treatment and medical services. Permanent supportive housing improves physical and mental health, which reduces the need for these services, particularly expensive inpatient mental health care and hospitalization.”

Quixote Village is just one example of the national tiny-house movement. There are villages sprouting up in Newfield, NY. with 18 single-unit homes that cost about $10,000 each to build. The Occupy Madison Village in Madison, Wis. has 11 even smaller buildings (at 98 square feet) planned that cost $5,000 each. It’s amazing how something so small can be the start of something so big.

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