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This blog is dedicated to distribute current information about the Coalition for the Homeless in Cleveland or poverty or the state of homelessness. Entries are written by board or staff of the Coalition. The opinions contained in this blog reflect the views of the author of the post. This blog features information on shelters, affordable housing, profiles, statistics, trends, and upcoming events relating to homelessness. We welcome comments, and will remove offensive or inappropriate messages. All postings are signed by the author.

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Tiny Homes Experiment Dead In Cleveland?

Scene Magazine broke the story about the two Tiny Homes in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood that they were not purchased.  The story says that the experiment has failed. Here is the opening of the story from Sam Allard:

"Despite fanfare and early confidence, Cleveland's 'Tiny House Experiment' appears to have failed. Two heavily-marketed, energy-efficient small homes built last year on the corner of W. 58th and Pear Avenue in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood were ultimately sold to the project's builder, Keith Sutton, who is now thought to be renting the properties until the market sufficiently ripens for a sale."

I am no expert on the housing market, but I think we could have learned something from the dealer on the corner of West 28th and Church. You have to create a market before you can start exploiting that market.  I mean, you may have to give away some product first and then others will be attracted and get hooked.  Who would buy a small home for three times the existing market in the area?  You could get a mansion with all the space you need for the cost of a tiny home. 

In addition, the homes are not really that small.  They are pretty big compared to the homes we see on the Home and Garden Network.  They should have made real Tiny Homes and then given them to low income individuals to live.  In this day and age, we hate to see some person getting something for free and others will want a place like these individuals got for free.  We are an envious society who cannot stand to see some person getting one up on us. The sad fact is that no one can force places to be cool. 

The neighborhood that CBGBs was located in New York City East Village was a forgotten corner of town with dive bars and biker gangs.  It was small, dark, dangerous and available.  Some of the best groups in Rock and Punk history played the club and it got a reputation.  The rents went up in the neighborhood and the place could not afford the cool that they had created.  Tremont has seen similar increases where the cool people who made the neighborhood cool can no longer afford to live in their own neighborhood. 

A bank and a development organization cannot create cool with an expensive experiment especially with for profit developers involved.  I hope that this is not the death of the Tiny Home movement in Cleveland.  It is a legitimate option for low income individuals.  It is successful for homeless youth in Chicago.  St. Paul's did a really really tiny home for a guy who was sleeping on the ground for 16 years for $500 and donated labor.  It took about three weeks of convincing but we got the guy to use the house.  This is the first step to building a trusting relationship with him to move into housing.  Build some real Tiny Homes for artists or homeless people that are affordable.  Get volunteers involved and make it a community project.  Make it something that looks nice, but can work economically.  Get some religious folks involved who will do this for mission and not profit. Please don't let this experiment die in Cleveland.

Brian Davis

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