While homeless shelters can be pivotal in providing short-term housing and protection from the elements, there are tradeoffs to staying in a shelter.
Many shelters feature communal sleeping arrangements, with dozens of beds packed into a room. This can make homeless shelters particularly inhospitable to people with mental health disorders. On top of that, it makes it easier for infectious diseases to spread, which is an obvious concern today.
Looking to get more homeless people off the streets and into a more hospitable shelter, Minneapolis nonprofit Avivo has created a tiny house village consisting of many small buildings within the walls of an empty publishing warehouse. There are either four, six, or eight dwellings within each building, with every dwelling containing a bed, desk, shelf, window, and air vent. The dwellings also have a door that can be locked from the inside, allowing residents to leave their tiny house “knowing their belongings are safe and secure.”
The village is part of a two-year pilot project called Avivo Village. The goal of the pilot program is to see whether an indoor village for the homeless is actually viable, while dually trying to help residents move into more permanent housing within 90 days.
If Avivo is successful in doing so, then the program will continue after the two-year trial period. December saw the first 16 residents move into the tiny house village. In March, the Avivo village is expected to be fully up and running, providing a total of 100 homeless people with their own living quarters.