Group plans tiny house village for homeless in Muncie

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MUNCIE, Ind. (May 1, 2016) — A nonprofit organization wants to build a village of six tiny houses for the homeless in Muncie.

Project planners from Bridges Community Services are seeking permission from a city zoning for the micro-village, The Star Press reported (http://tspne.ws/1Ny6qSO).

Houses would measure 96 square feet each and have a bed, two windows, a desk and a loft storage area, as well as electricity and heating. The project would also have a brick walkway, a community garden and a building that has showers, restrooms and kitchen facilities.

Bridges director Susie Kemp said the village would be a place for people “to become comfortable until they get used to more societal living than they’re used to.” She said there are some people “who just have a hard time coming back into a normal housing situation.”

“They have mental health issues, they just flat-out don’t like being around people — post-traumatic stress disorder is another one,” Kemp said.

Kemp has been to Seattle tiny houses, and micro-villages for the homeless have gone up in other places such as Madison, Wisconsin, as an “inexpensive way to help people get a grip on life again,” she said.

“It’s almost like having a dorm room but it’s your own house,” said Terry Whitt Bailey, director of Community Development for the city of Muncie. “It’s kind of a new trend in trying to give people housing options.”

Under local zoning ordinances, micro-villages aren’t a use that’s permitted in the residential zone.

“The closest thing would be a seasonal work camp for migrants in the farming zone,” local government planner Fred Daniel said, which is why a variance is required for the project.

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