Affordable housing developments, such as SRO’s, can have a great impact on people experiencing homelessness or low income. However, affordable housing as we know it doesn’t have a solution that addresses every issue surrounding this topic. These developments usually take 3-5 years to be completed with an average unit costing $350,000 and 30% of the need for affordable housing still goes unmet. Tiny homes attempt to provide spaces that can return dignity and safety in privacy to vulnerable populations at significantly less cost. The following is a report of statistics highlighting the need to confront Chicago’s homelessness issue with tiny homes being another affordable housing option for those in need.
Taking The Tiny Leap
On a recent bitterly cold night in Chicago, local homeless advocates identified 682 Veteran and chronically homeless people on the streets in need of shelter. It is not enough to provide a shelter alone. With the help and input of our local partners and non-profit advocacy groups the critical link to supportive services can be established.
As architects, we can play a role in Chicago’s homeless crisis. Clusters of individual shelters can be set up as small villages. Vacant buildings can be minimally rehabbed to provide shared facilities anchoring the shelter villages. The shelter module lends itself easily to be set up as a toilet room, food pantry, etc. when facilities are otherwise unavailable. Construction of the shelters can also be used to train unskilled workers, leading to potential jobs in their communities.Tiny Report