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Source: Tim Ransom

Can Tiny Homes Solve Homelessness?

By Kristin Hunt

Tiny homes are a sustainable alternative to cavernous houses with sprawling bedrooms and kitchens. They’re also a “stupid” trend, adopted by hipster couples looking to get on television. Tiny homes are freeing. They’re expensive. They’re minimalist. They’re inaccessible.

Tiny homes are a miracle or a nuisance, depending on who you ask. But a select group of nonprofits and public officials believe they’re something else entirely: a solution to homelessness.

Since the 2000s, tiny home communities designed exclusively for homeless people have been gaining traction in American cities. The West Coast hosted many of the early adopters. In 2004, Dignity Village opened on a permanent site in Portland, promising self-built shelter for 60 people per night. It was formerly a tent camp. So was Quixote Village, a 30-home community that opened on Christmas Eve in Olympia, Washington in 2013.