Tiny Home Community for the Homeless

by Steven Kuchinsky

I am part of a team of people from Monmouth University building a program known as THRIVE (Towns for Healing and Rehabilitation in Interactive Village Ecologies.)

We are working to create an alternative for about 80 homeless people living in tents (Tent City, Lakewood). Unfortunately, they must soon leave and will only have a homeless shelter to go to for one year and then they are on their own with no facilities available.

tent city

We want to create a sustainable community where these people together can build micro-homes and learn to live in a holistic life style.

We want to partner with whatever appropriate, likeminded caring people/groups will support this endeavor, such as Habitat for Humanity, various school programs that initiate sustainable farming, Home Depot which teaches home maintenance, and finally proponents of tiny homes that would like to make a difference in the lives of these people.

What better way to empower homeless people than to give them the opportunity to build their own homes and build their own community!

To what extent would you like to be a part of this ranging from simple suggestions, sharing contacts, ongoing communication, educating, etc.?

Here is a website about Tent City, and here also is a slide show (video) that I created. As idyllic as it may look, it is very difficult in the winter and they will not be permitted to live in these tents much longer.
(The pile of wood chips shown in the slide show were placed there by the town to make it more difficult for people to donate food to the homeless people. The county has since enforced removal.)

Happy, Simply – A Lifestyle Model and Education Project.

Debt free – healthy, happy, and with lots of friends. Where the best things in life are not things, where less is more and, where just enough is plenty!

The lifestyle model includes:

  • Sustainable living – shelter, food, water, energy, transport, waste, environment
  • Community participation – volunteering, active citizenship
  • Education – learning, simple sustainable choices, self-sufficiency, and rich experiences

A model for life and an educational project to learn from with information and inspiration.

happy simple life

Of most interest to the Tiny House community this website will be the Happy, simply home – a 10m2 house built by a group of volunteers using mainly reused, recycled, or left-over materials in two weeks for under $8000 NZ ($6700USD).

To live simply is the ultimate sophistication and luckily I have been fortunate to live and learn from the world’s poorest who, unfortunately, don’t get to choose simplicity, but are masters of living simply and being more connected to their families, communities, and the environment around them.

Simplicity has so many amazing benefits to the individual, the people around them, the environment, and towards a more just and connected global community. This was the starting point that I wanted to have a home that implemented these ideologies in a tangible way through a dwelling to live in and be an active part of a community.

inside drawing

After traveling to almost 60 on top of my native home of Australia, I stumbled upon a town named Paekakariki (where the girls are cheeky – as the local rhyme goes) and fell in love with the surrounding beach and mountains and also the community. It’s a small but distinct community that cares about where they live and those who live within the community. I was there this time last year and then had to leave for the remainder of the year. I returned in late January to set up the Happy, simply project and the home. Continue reading

Living Large in 400 Square Feet

By Alyse Nelson

Jon and Ryah Dietzen’s 3-year plan entailed getting out of credit card debt, establishing an emergency fund, finding work closer to home, and having more family time. Sitting in their 1,700 square foot house, they realized it would not be easy to tackle their plan. So they made a move most people would consider extreme – they converted a garage into a 400 square foot cottage.

Jon and Ryah Dietzen

Jon and Ryah Dietzen look into their renovated cottage – their home for 3 years. Photo by Royce Tillotson, used with permission. Continue reading