Tiny homes for homeless hit snag; Huntsville officials concerned about lack of toilets, electricity


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"There is definitely a void in transitional housing, which is kind of a step above an emergency shelter or group setting where you have some level of independence but are still very closely tied to the support resources you need to get back on your feet," said Hamilton.

He said city government leaders are in talks now with the Huntsville Housing Authority, North Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, First Stop, Downtown Rescue Mission and other agencies about the best approach to filling that void.

 

The housing authority will likely play a key role in transitional housing for the homeless - using either existing public housing units or "repurposing" other buildings as temporary residences, said Hamilton.

"We think there's real opportunity in the coming months to accomplish some of these things," he said.

Beale, members of UAH's Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, a homeless veteran and others gathered near Hampton Cove on Wednesday to build Foundations for Tomorrow's first tiny house. Measuring about 150 square feet, the simple, one-room home is roughly the same size as a backyard toolshed.


However, it is well insulated and large enough for a bed and storage locker. Volunteers parked the tiny home outside Huntsville City Hall before Thursday night's City Council meeting.

Beale, who launched Foundations for Tomorrow after reading about the closing of Huntsville's "Tent City" homeless camp in June, told council members she just wants to give homeless people "a place to go and get warm."

"We're going to continue to build them," said Beale. "It'll be up to you guys whether we can allow the homeless to live in them or not."

 

Rusty Loiselle, director of Help Our Homeless Veterans & Citizens, said a tiny home without electricity is far better than sleeping outdoors exposed to the cold, wild animals and thugs who prey on the homeless.

"It's not a solution for homelessness," said Loiselle. "It's merely an act of compassion for those who have so much less than all of us."

Michelle McMullen told City Council members she does not want the tiny homes "anywhere near" the Lowe Mill neighborhood where she lives. "We have been subjected to enough inappropriate development for too many decades," said McMullen.

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