This last weekend the Occupy Madison organization made another step forward in integrating tiny houses and the homeless in an effort to keep people off the street. The Occupy Madison Inc. organization had a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday for the new Tiny House Village in Madison, WI which has seen a seven percent increase in the homeless population over the last four years.
Occupy Madison, with help from numerous community groups, has built nine tiny houses, a day resource center, laundry facilities and a community gardening space in the village. The 96 square foot homes are made from reclaimed and recycled materials and include a bed, a toilet, propane heat and solar panels for electricity. Each building costs around $5,000 to build and the money was raised with private donations.
“Rather than taking people form the streets and putting them in a building, we thought we could work together to create our own structures,” says Luca Clemente, with Occupy Madison for WKOW in Madison. “We don’t give houses to homeless people, we enable people to build their own houses to create their own futures.”
The village is located on county owned land leased for $1 a year to the nonprofit organization that developed it. The developers won approval from the city for their plan with the assistance of a local Unitarian-Universalist congregation. Donations for the current homes came from local business that included Friends of the State Street Family, The Bubbles program, (which provides free laundry services to the homeless), OM Build, Homeless Ministry at Bethel Lutheran Church, Madison Street Pulse (a cooperative homeless newspaper based in Madison WI).
Photos courtesy of Occupy Madison and Revolution News