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New houses hope to fight homelessness a tiny step at a time

Ellen Abbott
Tiny Homes for Good erecting a wall on one of the first tiny houses in Syracuse.

The walls are up on the first tiny homes in Syracuse. And they will be used in the fight against homelessness.

Volunteers erected walls on two 300 square foot tiny homes in a low income neighborhood on the city’s south side. The roof and indoor work comes next, and Tiny Homes for Good executive director Andrew Lunetta expects the first residents to move in by the end of May.

"So you walk in, and have a full Murphy bed. There will be a walled-off bathroom and a small kitchenette."

Across the country, the tiny home movement is a trend where people choose to live simply in a very small house. The difference in Syracuse is these structures will be home to someone who would otherwise be living on the street.

"A lot of people would look at 300 square feet and say, wow, my garage is bigger than that. But for guys that have for the last decade maybe been living two feet away from another guy in a shelter bed, this is something special.”

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Volunteers are fashioning the tiny homes so there are two on a long cement slab on a formerly vacant lot. Each will have its own entrance, and residents will pay either $300 a month or a third of their fixed income.

Lunetta says the organization had trouble finding a spot, with other city neighborhoods opposed to formerly homeless folks in their midst.

"If we’re able to share the stories to our residents, show a home that is not only functional, but looks nice in the neighborhood as well, that people say I’d rather have that than a trash filled vacant lot , yea, why not bring one next door.”

Tiny Homes for Good owns another vacant lot in Syracuse on South Salina Street, with the goal of building three more tiny homes there by the end of the year.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.