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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Homeless People in the National News

Homelessness in the News

When Pope Francis comes to the U.S. in September, he will meet with people who are homeless, immigrants, and the incarcerated.  This is very noble, but, as Lewis Diuguid points out, the visits should be impromptu to avoid politicians from scripting these meetings.

Community policing in Cincinnati is one of the best in the country, but Cleveland’s police do not know where to start when it comes to working with the community.  Upcoming reforms will hopefully see the police making a positive difference in communities.

What community benefit comes from jailing a homeless person, who is obviously not in the right state of mind?  Nothing.  A person consistently, and incoherently calling 911 needs help getting a stable place to live, not prison time. 

If cities want to end homelessness and improve the conditions of shelters, maybe it is time to start adequately funding the services needed to get homeless people off the street.  After the murder of a shelter director by a former client, shelters in New York City are working to improve safety for the staff.  

Student at Chicago Portfolio School has begun designing new signs for homeless.  These new signs, drawn with an artistic touch, are meant to draw people to have an actual conversation with these people and create awareness.  Sometimes it is just small gestures that make a big difference.

Los Angeles City Council legislation would make something as small as putting a bag on the ground a cause for action by police.  LA civil rights activists urge the mayor to veto this legislation.  Criminalizing homelessness does not see the results it expects to see, but hinders the possibility of ending homelessness. 

Rapid Rehousing has been touted as a cure-all for homelessness, but for many, particularly families, it is not enough.  These families are cut off way before they are able to sustain themselves.  This report looks at the limitations or the Rapid Rehousing movement highlighted by a new HUD report.

New Orleans plans to build $7 million dollar centralized homeless shelter with less restriction. However, it faces opposition from business owners, who rely on myths about the homeless community. 

Since Obama began a push to end veteran homelessness in 2010, many cities and counties have essentially eliminated homelessness.  Now, will we see as much success ending chronic, youth, and family homelessness? Cuyahoga County will be declaring a "functional end" to veteran's homelessness on Veterans Day 2015.

A minister in Nashville, Tennessee is raising money to build micro-homes for the homeless. 

Repurposed military base becomes a recovery center for  addicted homeless people.  This shelter is different from many by allowing the residents to run the shelter, while also providing meaningful things to do during the day, such as online classes.

by Dan the Intern

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