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Tucson’s tiny home community breaks ground, will cater to homeless young adults

Local non-profit to build nine tiny energy-efficient homes in next eight months
I Am You 360 founder and CEO Desree Cook said the group is building a tiny home community to...
I Am You 360 founder and CEO Desree Cook said the group is building a tiny home community to help homeless young adults in Tucson.(KOLD)
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 8:38 AM MST|Updated: Oct. 15, 2021 at 8:39 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Phase II of I Am You 360′s tiny home community started Friday, Oct. 15.

It will be the first of its kind in Tucson.

A groundbreaking event signified the beginning of an eight-month process to complete nine tiny energy-efficient homes.

The homes will provide a place to homeless or aged-out foster youth, in hopes of preparing them for success and a better future. Desiree Cook, founder and CEO of I Am You 360, said the two- to three-year program will teach life skills and help prepare young adults to buy a home in the future.

“From my living experiences, I see it from a clearer lens and know why this is so necessary,” Cook said. “We are in crisis, not just locally but nationally. Our goal is to sew our most vulnerable youth back into the fabric of our community.”

Ten existing tenants live in homes donated by a local businessman near Grant and Oracle.

Once the tiny homes are complete, the tenants will get a choice of staying in their current location or moving into the new ones. A total of 19 young adults will be housed in the future.

“These are the kiddos that really slipped through the cracks of society,” Cook said. “We want to make sure we rally around them and let them know they are somebody.”

The program isn’t free.

Tenants pay $350 a month in rent and must have a job. Because the new tiny homes will be larger, the rent will be $450 a month to live there.

“We have an abundance of applications coming through, right now there is a waiting list but we will select nine individuals,” Cook said. “The hope is to continue whether it’s here or there to ensure safe housing is a priority.”

The application can be found on the I am You 360 website. Cook said more than 100 individuals are currently on the waitlist.

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