Tiny homes could solve big problems regarding affordable housing in Rochester

    The Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative has given a group a grant to give the idea a try. (Photo courtesy of KMBC-TV)

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHAM) - Some big plans are shaping up for tiny houses in Rochester.

    They could be a way for people to live the American dream.

    The Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative has given a group a grant to give the idea a try.

    A tiny home's size ranges between 200 and 300 square feet.

    "We are hoping that there will be a row of tiny homes," Peter Peters, co-chair for Rochesterians Engaging in Action for the Chronically Homeless, said.

    He's talking about an empty plot of land along St. Paul Street in Rochester. it's there that he envisions creating a community that will be affordable for people to live in.

    "We are really committed to this as a message to everyone in Rochester that a tiny home village will be part of an answer to the housing crisis," Peters said.

    He said the idea is to build 16 tiny homes on the land. They will house people who are homeless, senior citizens who are downsizing, and veterans.

    Each home can typically house no more than two people.

    "Simply by providing affordable housing it's what it's really going to do to help," said Brandon Kasperkoski, Director of Programs at Veterans Outreach Center.

    He said nearly 40% of the people they work with struggle to find an affordable home.

    "Anything we can do to get in front of this and help our veterans in our community into affordable housing is part of the backbone of what we are trying to accomplish here," Kasperkoski said.

    He said he's hopeful to work in partnership with REACH to help the project come to fruition.

    "We think the village will offer people a social experience that will help them deal with many of the issues they are struggling with," Peters said.

    In places like Kansas City, tiny home communities have taken off. It's something organizers hope will happens Rochester.

    "If it works and it houses as many as we think we will then the city will find it an attractive proposition," Peters said.

    "The goal is to have a tiny home produced by a work force of young people acquiring job skills," said John Curran, a representative from REACH.

    He said his group first has to acquire the land from the city. He's worked to clear the property, and clean it up.

    "The challenges we deal with are the lack of zoning codes such as having a fire truck entering the area," he explained.

    Earlier this month, REACH was awarded $50,000 in state funding to build their first tiny home.

    Their plans include making sure the homes they build are winter-ready.

    "Hemp is good for foundation, but, also good for isolation and it could be done by an unskilled work force," Curran said.

    If it works, this pilot program could go a long way.

    "If you house someone they will deal with their challenges more effectively," Peters said.

    Peters said each tiny home costs about $30,000 to $50,000 to build. Organizers are hoping the community will help support the idea by contributing and donating to the funding they need.

    He said if they are able to acquire the land they need, the goal is to start construction by next year.

    You can learn more about REACH by visiting their website.

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