Tiny homes are being built by churches and non-profits to help ease the homeless crisis

·2 min read
photograph of a tiny home
Tiny homes are being built on spare church land for people like Nathaniel "Pee Wee" Lee, who lives in a unit at the Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.AP
  • Churches are working with homeless charities to build micro homes across the US, The AP reports.

  • The homes are built on spare church land and can access existing water and electricity supplies.

  • Micro home villages are increasingly being developed in cities to help shelter the homeless.

Churches across the US are building tiny houses on spare land to accommodate homeless people, The Associated Press reported.

A number of faith leaders are working with nonprofits and affordable housing organizations to create the micro homes. They typically have a single bedroom and a small kitchen area and are being built on vacant land belonging to churches.

Tiny homes are becoming an increasingly popular solution to help tackle the homelessness crisis. More than half a million people were homeless in the US in 2020, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness' most recent report, and 70% of those were individuals.

Washington-based social purpose company Pallet has seen rising interest in its tiny homes that cost $5,500 and can be set up in less than an hour. 

Photograph inside a tiny home with a small kitchen area and bed
The dwellings come equipped with a small kitchen area.AP

Block Project, a nonprofit based in Seattle, places the units in people's backyards and started developing them in 2016.

The Episcopal Church of the Advocate placed three one-bedroom micro homes on its site in North Carolina, the AP report says, and has been housing homeless people there since 2019.

One congregation, First Presbyterian Church of Hayward in the San Francisco Bay area has put micro homes in its parking lot.

First Christian Church of Tacoma in Washington set up a micro home village on its site in conjunction with the Low Income Housing Institute.

"We don't have a lot of money. We don't have a whole lot of people … but we care a lot about it, and we've got this piece of property," one of the church's ministers,  Rev. Doug Collins, told The AP.

Other non-profits and congregations are also embracing the solution as they can be easily placed on spare land.

Minnesota-based Church of the Nazarene is developing a mini home community in partnership with homeless charity Settled.

Meridian Baptist, based in California, is also starting to erect the housing units with local charity Amikas, which helps them to construct the homes.

Donald Whitehead, director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, told The AP he welcomed the churches' moves and regarded tiny homes as a "great emergency option".

"It can be included in a menu of resources that would help to address homelessness. If there's an opportunity to build a regular home at the same price, we would prefer that people build the regular home," he said.

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