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Savannah Group Hopes Tiny Houses Can Help Homeless Veterans

In 2014, OM Build built nine houses in Madison, Wisconsin, for the homeless. A group in Savannah is working on a similar plan to create tiny houses for homeless veterans and other homeless people.
In 2014, OM Build built nine houses in Madison, Wisconsin, for the homeless. A group in Savannah is working on a similar plan to create tiny houses for homeless veterans and other homeless people.
Credit Carrie Antlfinger / associated press file
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A group in Savannah is moving forward with plans to develop a community of tiny houses for homeless veterans and other homeless people.

The City Council recently approved a zoning change allowing the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless to move forward with the plans, The Savannah Morning News reported.

The community, named the Cove at Dundee, is expected to eventually include up to about 70 of the tiny homes, the newspaper reported.

The 128-square-foot houses would be on a 3-acre site east of downtown Savannah, where a cotton mill once operated. A homeless camp has existed there for decades, the authority said.

The homes would include bathrooms, heating and air conditioning, officials have said. The first 12 structures would be for homeless veterans, they’ve said.

The community would be organized into villages, with 12 people making up each village. Residents would meet regularly to make basic rules of behavior and decide other matters, according to a description of the project at the homeless authority’s website.

“Living without housing is traumatic. An individual’s ability to be focused, productive and successful is comprised severely when housing is not present,” the project description states.

“Most of us simply take for granted the refuge our homes are to us,” it said. “This refuge provides the foundation for our lives and our ability to meet our needs. These ideas are present in our program approach to serving homeless veterans in the Tiny House project.”

The request to rezone the property in the Blackshear Park neighborhood was approved in July by the local planning commission, said Cindy Kelley, the authority’s executive director.

“It was very smooth,” she said of the planning commission’s approval. “They had a few questions, but I think we worked really hard to educate the community on what we were doing and why.”

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach has praised the authority for coming up with a new plan to address the county’s homeless population. Kelley said it has remained at about 4,000 for the past three decades, the Savannah newspaper reported earlier this summer.

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