Solving the housing crisis: Tiny home village coming to Tucson

KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Dec. 26, 2022 at 10:22 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As the housing crisis continues, a local non-profit is stepping up to address homelessness across Tucson.

The Homing Project volunteers have been working for over a year on a new rapid-rehousing effort. They’re building mini homes that will grow into a mini village with security and resources to help those facing homelessness get back on their feet.

Each mini home will be a 64-sqaure foot space with one or two beds, heating and air conditioning, and space for storing personal belongings. There are 100 villages with homes like these across the country, but this will be the first in Tucson.

“We’re hoping this will get people off the street and give them a safe, stable place to stay for awhile,” said J. Kristin Olson-Garewel, the founder of The Homing Project.

It will be a place to call home, at least for a little while. These mini homes are called pallet shelters and The Homing Project will be putting 15 of them in a village near Nogales Highway and Irvington. But this is just the beginning.

″15 houses is a drop in the bucket, but to those 15 people, it’s 100%. We’d like to go up to 100 every site,” Olson-Garewel explained.

Applications to live in the village will go through the City of Tucson and residents can stay as long as needed. It will be a gated community with 24-hour security, private showers, a laundry room and communal kitchen where the residents can learn life skills.

“There will be a communal kitchen and it will have a chef. The chef isn’t to do the cooking. The chef is to teach people who live there how to plan and do communal meals,” she said.

There will also be support services like substance abuse counseling, medical, dental, and mental health. The first round of homes will serve victims of domestic abuse who are either younger than 25 or older than 50.

“There are many domestic violence survivors who are homeless, so we’ve kept the age restrictions because we would like to help the most vulnerable people in domestic violence,” she explained.

It costs over a million dollars to complete these villages with the 100 homes and community spaces. Right now The Homing Project is working on fundraising as they prepare the land for the village.

A display at the First Christian Church will be up through the end of the week for people to come by and check out if they have questions. The goal is to have the first village completed by this summer with hopes of building more across Tucson when possible.