News

From Tent City to Tiny Houses

Churches try hip solution to aid the homeless.
From Tent City to Tiny Houses
Image: Larry McCormack

In Nashville, Tennessee, six brightly-colored, 60-square-foot homes dot the property of Green Street Church of Christ. But their occupants aren’t fashionable trend-setters. They’re homeless folks who have found shelter in tiny houses.

In addition to four walls and a roof, the homes offer Murphy beds, laminate flooring, and a door that locks. Even better, they provide residents, some of whom used to live in tents, an address to put on job applications.

Green Street Church began allowing the homeless to pitch tents on its property several years ago, but ran into trouble with Nashville zoning ordinances. While that matter hasn’t yet been legally solved, a privacy fence has settled things down with the neighbors.

Having people move from tents to tiny houses, which are rent-free, should help even more.

“[Tents] aren’t really made to be lived in,” Caleb Pickering, a deacon at Green Street Church, told CT.

The homes were set up by a local nonprofit and the church keeps an eye on them.

“We have the right to go in and make sure they’re being taken care of,” Pickering said. “It’s trickier with tents. Tiny houses also present a better face to your neighbors.”

The tiny house movement sprouted in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when 308-square-foot Katrina Cottages were developed as an alternative to FEMA housing. The popularity of the ecologically-friendly houses, which cost far less to build and maintain than a standard house, grew during the recent recession.

Last year, the American Tiny House Association was formed. At the same time, the structures made their television debut, with Tiny House Nation on A&E and Tiny House Hunters on HGTV. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

June
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
close