Tiny Houses For The Homeless In Wisconsin

Categories: Life Stories


UPDATED Saturday, January 4, 2014 --- 8:44 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Madison officials are working to get the city more housing for the homeless.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1gyZyQO ) Occupy Madison Inc. hopes to buy a parcel of land so it can build "tiny houses" for the homeless and then park eight to 10 of the houses there.

The 98-square-foot houses have a roof, insulated walls, a compost toilet and sink and are on wheels. Currently, a tiny house parked on a Madison street must be moved every day or two.

The city's Community Development Authority, meanwhile, is assembling a site for a housing project with 50 to 60 efficiency units and case management services for homeless residents.

Local aldermen have expressed concern about both sites, but details of both proposals are still being worked out.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A nonprofit group hopes to build a village of tiny houses for the homeless in Madison.

Occupy Madison Inc. is spearheading the effort, which requires eventual residents help build and decorate the units.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the first tenants are moving in Tuesday. The first two houses were built this summer thanks to more than 50 volunteers.

City ordinance allows the houses to be parked on the street as long as they're moved every 48 hours.

Bruce Wallbaum, project organizer for Occupy Madison, and other organizers are working with area churches to allow the houses to park up to three in each lot.

Eventually the organization hopes to buy land and create a village of up to 30 of the houses.

They've spent the past few months sawing, painting, and now just the finishing touches remain.

"Everybody did a part. It's been a community effort” says Betty Ybarra, who will be moving into the first of many tiny homes being built by Occupy Madison.

"It's exciting. I've never owned my own house” says Ybarra.

Each house is 98 square feet, comes with a bathroom and kitchen, and costs around $3,000 dollars. They are being paid for by community donations.

"You can stay at a shelter for a month and really that's not a lot” says Russell Albers, who will be staying in a tiny home currently being built.

Like Ybarra, Albers spent countless hours helping to build his soon-to-be residence. Again, it's not a big space, but it's big impact, giving some homeless folks, around the Madison area, a fresh start, a much-needed boost, and a step in the right direction.

"There's no comparison between having a place to go at night, and close the door, and sleep comfortably, and not freeze to death or have your possessions stolen. There's no substitute for that” says Luca Clemente, one of the project organizers.

Occupy Madison hopes to complete 10 tiny homes by the end of 2014.
Right now, they don't have a permanent spot to put the houses, but are working with area churches to get temporary lots of land.

If you'd like to volunteer helping build one of these homes, head to http://occupymadisoninc.com/.

Madison resident Betty Ybarra has never owned a home, but that'll soon change.

"I was very skeptical this could even happen” she tells NBC15 about her new home she's currently helping to build through an Occupy Madison project.

The group is currently building small homes. It isn't much. Each are about 100 square feet. But it's enough to help someone get back on their feet.

"It'll be small. It'll be like living in a door room, but it's much better than living in a tent outside” Brenda Konkel with Occupy Madison

Each house takes between 1 to 2 months to build and costs about $4 thousand. The project is made possible thanks to donations.

“They'll all have a refrigerator, a microwave. There may be wood heat in there as well as electric heat” Konkel says.

Once finished, Ybarra will move into the home she's working on. Her only requirement was to help build the house she'll be living in.

"It really gives people a sense of pride and dignity and a place to live” Konkel says.

For some, the home will be a stepping stone, For others, it'll be a permanent place. But for all, it's a sign of hope

'Just don't give up” says Ybarra.

Occupy Madison plans to build 10 tiny houses in the first year. Their ultimate goal is to have a piece of land where they can park around 30 of them.


Source:  AP News

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