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The Tiny House Project

 

Photos provided by Richard Leo Johnson, Atlantic Archives Inc, Fine Architectual and Interior Photograph

TINY HOUSE PROJECT – Update December 2016:  The Tiny House Project, also known as the Cove at Dundee has completed the approval process (September 2016).  At present, CSAH staff are working to secure the $250,000 to do the infrastructure installation.  Please see our wish list below and help if you can.  Thank you!

The project was approved for up to 80 units although we anticipate that given site conditions that we will house 72 veterans.  Additionally, three Clubhouses shared by the members will be located on the site.  We are hopeful that ground breaking will occur sometime in early 2017.

Thank you to Wells Fargo for funding equipment needs for this project!

What will the Cove at Dundee be like?  Ideas about how to work effectively with homeless persons have changed in recent years.  It can take time for homeless service providers to embrace new ideas and adjust programs to meet research based best practices.  Most Chatham area programs in existence today began with the program model of providing services and ensuring that individuals comply with certain requirements (including our agency) before housing was an option.  At times these requirements could be quite harsh given what is known about hierarchy of needs in humans (basic needs must be met in order for humans to move up the ladder to self-actualization).  Best practice today indicates that a service approach is problematic.  A better approach is to provide persons with Housing First and then offer services/support when there is readiness to receive them. 

Living without housing is traumatic.  An individual’s ability to be focused, productive and successful is comprised severely when housing is not present.  Most of us simply take for granted the refuge our homes are to us.  This refuge provides the foundation for our lives and our ability to meet our needs.  These ideas are present in our program approach to serving homeless veterans in the Tiny House project.

Each village of twelve persons will be a self-managed entity with a selected resident manager (initially appointed but eventually elected by residents).  Residents will meet regularly to make decisions about how to live in community, determine basic rules of behavior and allow for individual needs and creativity.  Residents will not be required to see a case manager or attend AA meetings or attend other services.  However, such services will be available for the time a resident is interested in such support.  Villages will need to work together to coordinate efforts for activities such as grocery shopping, medical appointments, maintaining the interior and exterior of their homes and maintenance of the common areas.  Village residents will also elect a representative to sit on a Council of Villages (6 anticipated villages of 12 persons) to plan for larger activities and problem solve for community wide efforts or concerns.    

We anticipate that it will take some time for the smooth operation of each village.  CSAH will provide staff leadership to support village efforts to determine what works best for them.  We expect mistakes but also expect villages (and individuals) will improve with time. 

As residents heal they will have opportunities to work, volunteer and give back to the community at large.     

Tour the Tiny House model:

The Tiny House model parked at 704 Wheaton Street in the parking lot of the Savannah Baptist Center.  The Tiny House is available for tours by calling or emailing the CSAH Executive Director, Cindy Kelley at 912.644.7945 or ckelley@homelessauthority.org.  Groups and individuals are welcome to tour the model. 

General information about the Tiny House project:

The location at 75 Dundee is on the site of a former Cotton Mill.  A homeless camp has been on the site for decades.  We anticipate being able to build up to 72 homes on the site over 5+ years.  Our Tiny Homes are 16×8 (128 square feet).  They are well built homes with exterior cladding in cement board and a metal roof.  If you drive by to see the model you will notice we have selected white and red exterior paint for the first 12 home village for veterans.  The interior of the unit is tongue and grove pine on walls and ceiling (11 feet, 4 inch celing height), has two windows, an entrance door with six light panels, a small kitchen with microwave, refrigerator and hotplate, a bathroom with shower and a single bed that works as a sofa during the day.  The floors are ceramic tile and there is plenty of storage under the bed.   Broader community enhancements will include outdoor tables, grills and gardens.  Plans are also in place for a small chapel on the site. 

The materials cost for each Tiny House is $7,000.  We hope that individuals and groups will want to raise funds to support the building of one or more units.  The nonprofit HBI is coordinating the build of the first village of twelve units thereby keeping our costs low.  They also built the model with materials cost contributed by an anonymous donor.  We are securing a partner to build the ADA compliant unit for the first village.  Architect and Artist Bede VanDyke has put in many hours in the design of the Tiny House and most recently in the development of the site plan.  Housing Developer Gary Wiggin has provided project leadership and supported our efforts to build housing development competence and expertise.  This project is only possible due to the wilingness of many to give of their time, expertise and financial gifts. 

Housing is a basic need most of us take for granted.  Without housing, a person’s ability to build a sustainable existence is severly compromised.  We are proud to embrace Housing First and provide very low cost very affordable permanent housing for those most in need. 

Watch here for more updates about this exciting project. 

Cindy 

 

src: http://homelessauthority.org/homeless-outreach.cfm

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