Churches across the U.S. are tackling the big question of how to address homelessness in their communities with a small solution: tiny homes.
On vacant plots near their parking lots and steepled sanctuaries, congregations are building everything from fixed and fully contained micro homes to petite, moveable cabins, and several other styles of small-footprint dwellings in between.
Church leaders are not just trying to be more neighborly. The drive to provide shelter is rooted in their beliefs — they must care for the vulnerable, especially those without homes.
“It’s just such an integral part of who we are as a people of faith,” said the Rev. Lisa Fischbeck, former Episcopal vicar and the board chair of Pee Wee Homes, an affordable housing organization building tiny abodes in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Construction is well underway on the three Pee Wee Homes on the Episcopal Church of the Advocate property off Homestead Rd in Chapel Hill. Volunteers are needed from September-November.
September volunteer shifts are ready for signup: Help install siding -or-
If you’d like to provide snacks for the crew – fruit, home-baked treats, etc. just drop by the site during one of the construction shifts
Expensive housing contributes to cycles of poverty in every region of our state, industry observers say. But a group of Chapel Hill advocates believe tiny homes could be a big solution for the housing crisis.
Pee Wee Homes Collaborative has a vision of an entire Chapel Hill neighborhood occupied by tiny houses.
“It’s a concept that provides affordable housing to people that would otherwise be homeless,” said Lisa Fischbeck, chairwoman of the Pee Wee Homes Collaborative.
Fischbeck said the city has a unique housing crisis because students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill rent the more affordable homes, which leaves other city residents struggling to find housing in the price ranges.
“They often are the people who have worked hard in this community for years, but then they can’t afford to live here,” Fischbeck said.
“You’ve got people who’ve got low income, people on fixed income, older people, homeless people, people that’s handicapped, they need a place to go. Most of them want to get off the street. That’s what I’d like to see, somewhere they can go and call their own,” Lee said.