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By Location Alaska Albuquerque Allentown Amsterdam Anaheim Anchorage Ann Arbor Atlanta Austin Baton Rouge Bend Binghamton Boston Boulder Canada Cardiff Charlotte Chatsworth Chicago Chippenham Cleveland Columbia SC Columbus Dallas Denver Des Moines Detroit Edmonton Eugene Fayetteville Fort McMurray Fredericton Gainesville Glendale Great Falls Greensboro Harbor City Harrisburg Hawaii Hawthorne Hollywood Honolulu houston Ithaca Kalkaska Kelowna Koreatown Las Vegas Lima London London (Canada) Los Angeles Louisville Manchester Miami Minneapolis/St Paul Montreal Nashville New Orleans New York City Nickelsville Norway Oakland Ocala Oslo Ottawa Oxford Paradise Pasadena Peru Philadelphia Phoenix Pine Ridge Pittsburgh Portland Reseda Sacramento Salt Lake City San Diego San Francisco San Jose San Luis Obispo Santa Monica Saskatoon Seattle Shawnee Skid Row Springfield St John's St Louis St. Petersburg Syracuse Tacoma Tampa Toronto Traverse City Tulsa United Kingdom Vancouver Venice Beach Vermont Victoria Wales Washington DC Wentzville Westwood Wichita Wilmington Winnipeg Yellowknife By topic Addiction Advocacy Affordable housing Art and Music Awareness Charity Cold Weather College Students Community Involvement Coronavirus Couch Surfing Couple Criminalization Data Disabled Divorce Domestic violence Drug testing Education Employment Eviction Ex-convict Faith based Families Family conflict Female Financial crisis Foster care Harm reduction Health care HIV/AIDS Homeless count Homeless deaths Hostels (UK shelters) Hotels Housing First HUD Human trafficking Identification Incarceration Indigenous Invisible People Invisible Stories Job loss K2/Spice (Synthetic Marijuana) LGBT Libraries Lived Experience Male Mental illness Mobile Homeless Natural disasters NIMBY Outreach Panhandling Peer Support Pets Poverty Pregnant PTSD Public Feeding Racism Recycling Relationships Research Rural Schools Seniors Sex Offenders Sex Worker Shelters Single Parent Social Media Social Security Socks Solutions Street Soccer Survival sex System Failure Systems Change Technology Tent Cities Tiny Homes Transgender Travelers Veteran Vietnam Veteran Violence Waiting list Welfare Working poor Youth EVENTS @home contests PBS road trip road trip 2009 road trip 2010 road trip 2011 road trip 2013 to fight youth homelessness sober birthday campaign SXSW TEDx INTERVIEWS Learn More Canadian Homelessness Coronavirus and Homelessness Criminalization of Homelessness Family Homelessness Homeless Seniors Homeless Veterans Homeless Youth Homelessness Mobile Homelessness Panhandling Tent Encampments U.K. Homelessness MISCELLANEOUS 360 video Awards Cause Marketing Dream Center Gates Foundation Google Glass Media Patreon Tribute World Trade Center YouTube More Updates

Thoughts on Tiny Homes for Homeless People

tiny homes

In the conversations about homelessness solutions, we hear a lot about tiny house villages. Some believe it’s a perfect solution. Others think it’s a nightmare. Here’s my perspective.

First, let’s define what we are actually talking about here.

There are genuine tiny houses seen on television, which are often expensive, luxury houses for financially well-off people who want to live the trendy “minimalist” lifestyle. These are expertly built homes designed to be efficient, often 100% off the grid, and allow for indoor cooking, a bathroom, and a sleeping area. With this option, the tiny of your tiny house depends on you. However, I doubt this is the type of house they’re proposing for homeless people.

In a recent Invisible People article, a company called Pallet built some “tiny houses” for homeless people as a stop-gap solution. Then some of those “houses” burned down despite being equipped with a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, and fire extinguisher.

These were not actual “tiny houses” in the true sense. They were little more than glorified sheds, lacking bathrooms and kitchens. The article also mentions twin-sized bunk beds in a 64-square-foot structure, which is only slightly larger than a prison cell.

While I would gladly accept a place that is not much bigger than a prison cell, I would need all my conditions met, including:

  1. I live alone (except for the option of a support animal)
  2. There is a bathroom (even a tiny one like an RV where the potty doubles as a bath bench, and you have a shower hose with a showerhead and a wee sink).
  3. It has electricity and can run an air conditioner and heater as needed.
  4. There is enough space to have a sink with enough counter space for a small toaster oven and a hot plate plus a small fridge. 
  5. There is a lot of space around the structure, and it is located in a country setting, not a city. I can’t deal with noise and chaos in cities due to my conditions.
  6. No one can throw me out.

I would also need to soundproof the structure. Because I suffer from sensory overload issues and chemical sensitivities, I have a long list of special needs. That includes an odor-free environment that is very quiet and with controlled lighting. Anyone with autism or who has an autistic child understands my special needs, but most of the public doesn’t. 

So my tiny house would be an actual tiny house. It would not be built for luxury. It would simply meet the needs of a person who is both physically limited by chronic illnesses and disabilities and also by special needs relating to autism.

I don’t think that is asking so much.

Most people would never want to live alone, isolated, in a tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere and have to hand scrub their laundry. However, I might as well be asking for a humungous mansion with a built-in jacuzzi, tanning bed, 15 bedrooms, a gazebo, and a full-time staff. 

I’ve previously discussed ideas for having RV parks for people who need a permanent place to park their RV and live out of it like a tiny house. A sort of RV “safe parking” program, but I proposed setting it in a clean, quiet, country environment with strict rules of conduct and affordable rates. In that case, you’re not even asking for a company to build temporary housing. You just need land and plots with sewer, water, and electric hook-ups. 

Bottom Line: I would not want to live in a so-called “tiny house” like the ones that are being proposed in cities and often involve roommates and common public bathrooms.

On the other hand, I am very willing to live alone in a very small space so long as my basic needs listed above are met. Quiet, private, odor-free, with a place to shower, wash clothes and dishes and make basic meals. So long as I have electricity and water and septic, I can survive with very few luxuries.

The problem is that this sort of housing is not available or affordable in my area.

I could theoretically move to the preverbal “middle of nowhere,” but as a disabled person who also has autism, that is a frightening thought! To move to someplace where I know no one at all? Far from home base? Not to mention the expenses of moving. Losing your doctors and other services you depend on. People shouldn’t have to flee an area they’ve lived in for many years. Housing should be accessible to every person.

By modern standards, I am asking for so little. Just enough to basically survive. Something I can’t be thrown out of – ever. A place that offers me peace.

If there is one thing many homeless people want and truly need, it is peace, quiet, and a sense of stability. Many of us have PTSD. How can anyone heal without stable housing?

In my world, nothing is stable, not even my van, which I’ve been trying to get to pass inspection since February! My inspection expired on March 31st and still won’t pass the NY state inspection.

As of this writing, I am in a vehicle that is not legal. I was given a ticket four days ago. My hands are shaking, I feel nauseous, and I have to go to court in May. Believe me, my life is not worth living, and there is no hope I’ll ever even be able to get a shack with an outhouse, much less a decent little tiny house.

I have no stability and no hope, just daily, oppressing, non-stop stress. 


Homeless Loki

Homeless Loki

  

Homeless Loki is a disabled homeless person also on the autism spectrum currently homeless in upstate New York

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