Tiny homes to be built for homeless in Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tiny homes to be built for homeless in Savannah

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The tiny home concept is the latest trend in development nationwide.

From folks who just want to downsize, to cities bringing them in after natural disasters. Now, one local non-profit sees a use for them in Savannah.

The Chatham-Savannah Homeless Authority believes it's the solution to our chronic homeless problem.

"I do believe that this is a creative low-cost efficient solution. It has worked in other communities,” said Chatham-Savannah Homeless Authority Executive Director Cindy Kelly.

Kelly explained to Savannah City Council members Thursday that their non-profit organization has already secured the land to build 60 tiny homes on three acres at Dundy and Weaton Streets.

"I’m a fan of HGTV, and I was watching a program on tiny houses and so I connected with an architect and started talking to our board,” said Kelly.

They came up with a model tiny home. It's almost 130 square feet with a full bathroom, a mini kitchen, and a place to sleep and sit.

Kelly says our homeless population is driven by several factors.

"We have a high incarceration rate in this state and we have punitive housing policies that do not allow for folks who have criminal backgrounds to have very many options or no options. We have a very high poverty rate in Georgia,” said Kelly.

While it seems some of these folks want to live in these homeless villages, Kelly says after surveying them, most were on board with the tiny home concept. Especially folks with mental illnesses who are victims of their environment. If it rains, they may have to wait a couple of days for their medicine resources to dry out.

"So we know that just by getting those folks in stable housing, those issues are diminished,” said Kelly.

Rent for these tiny homes will be based on a sliding scale depending on income. If they have no income at all, there will opportunities to work for housing.

"All the residents will have responsibilities. For those who can't afford it, we're looking at $200 a month for rent. For those who can't, we're they'll have a lesser rent or for those who don't have any income, we have the expectation that they will give back to the community. That might be community cooking or gardening or doing workshops,” said Kelly.

They plan to break ground in September. The initial phase will be for homeless veterans.

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