By Katherine Long
Volunteers, contractors and generators buzzed around a lot on Rose Avenue in Syracuse last week as construction on two tiny homes for the homeless continued.
The homes are the first to be built by A Tiny Home for Good, Inc., a local organization with a straightforward and ambitious mission: Build and manage tiny homes, then rent them to individuals who have faced homelessness.
In 2015, after launching A Tiny Home, Executive Director Andrew Lunetta told the Sun his “work with the homeless showed me that there is a need for affordable and dignified housing…. I want to offer housing to individuals so they’ll have a warm place to sleep, a place to get on their feet.”
The organization is now very close to doing just that. Last week, Lunetta gave the Sun a tour of the adjoining, framed-out homes: Each unit measures about 300 square feet, with a main room for living and sleeping, a kitchen area, and a bathroom. Once completed, the units will be furnished. The homes will be rented to individuals who have faced homelessness, with the rent amount determined by his or her income. The first five homes built by the organization will be rented to veterans facing homelessness. Lunetta hopes to have construction finished by the end of May.
Each unit costs about $22,500 to build, and the Rose Avenue homes have been funded through private contributions and a small amount of grant support, Lunetta explained. A Tiny Home has also had help from some friends.
Local organization Operation Northern Comfort has been “absolutely dynamite,” Lunetta said, providing A Tiny Home with monetary support, volunteers, and some professional contracting supervision.
Students from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry also lent their hands, spending part of their spring break service trip helping A Tiny Home. And even though spring break had ended, SUNY ESF students were still on hand last week, hammering nails and sawing boards. Student Luella Bond said she’s taken the cause on as her own and that she’ll definitely keep helping the organization build.
Lunetta said A Tiny Home’s role will extend beyond just housing a person and managing that property, however. “I think it really comes down to being able to share the stories of our residents and being able to try to change the stigma that surrounds homelessness,” he said.
To learn more about A Tiny Home for Good, Inc., visit atinyhomeforgood.org.