We are so excited to welcome Ka’Tiera Truett as our new Assistant Director for Resident Support. Ka’Tiera joined us in April 2023 and will be focused on partnering with each resident to assess their housing-related needs and challenges. She is from a small town in North Carolina called Creedmoor. She attended Pembroke University and received her bachelors in Sociology and Nonprofit Leadership.
Ka’Tiera has worked in the social work field since she graduated college in 2014. She has over 11 years of working with individuals experiencing homelessness. She has always had a passion to help others. Her dream since she was younger was to build an affordable tiny home community with a community garden where everyone could engage and feel like family. Ka’Tiera is excited to begin this new journey with Pee Wee Home and looks forward to connecting with many in the community.
Ka’Tiera enjoys gardening, being outside, cooking and supporting moms who are having babies as their doula. She also enjoys spending time with her daughter, family and her three dogs.
On March 18th, Faith and community leaders from all across the Triangle ate, sang, and learned together at the Episcopal Church of the Advocatefor Pee Wee Homes’ first ever Information Session for Faith and Community Leaders, an effort to mobilize and inspire faith communities to build tiny homes on their property.
Leading the way, the Advocate is PWH’s first location on church-owned land, hosting three residents in three tiny homes, and was the perfect venue to inspire others to do the same. PWH has completed four other homes on land acquired through theNorthside Neighborhood Initiative. Subsequently, PWH has been striving to replicate the strategy of building homes on the grounds of faith communities like the Advocate. PWH Board Chair Lisa Fischbeck and Duke Divinity School Intern, Laura Batts, have been leading efforts to connect with local faith communities in hopes of finding fertile ground for more of these homes.
The March event grew out of this initiative to inform the community of the opportunity to partner with PWH. Moreover, this event was meant to encourage continued collaboration among religious, nonprofit, and local government sectors.
There was an energy in the air as the chapel filled with congregation members and community leaders from Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Apex, Raleigh, Cary, and Durham. Additionally, local officials, and community leaders from organizations likeCommunity Empowerment Fund (CEF) andInter-Faith Council (IFC) were also represented.
The event was packed with guest speakers, music, a raffle, and opportunities to connect and network. Key speakers, Gary Bumgardner, community leader and affordable housing advocate, and Katina Welch, community leader and PWH board member, shared their experiences accessing housing and emphasized the role of faith communities in filling the gaps. Others spoke on the PWH model and current relevant policy updates, including founding board members Fischbeck and Hudson Vaughn, and PWH Executive Director Erika Walker.
PWH board member David Lyles generously donated a one-of-a-kind quilt to be raffled at the event. Guests were invited to make a donation of any size for one raffle ticket. Lyles made this quilt specifically for PWH and even included the shape of homes throughout the quilt!
The CEF Advocacy Choir performed, “Smile,” a lively and hopeful original song written by Yvette Matthews, Office and Community Organizer at CEF’s Chapel Hill office. The crowd caught on quickly, singing, clapping and swaying along to the the uplifting song.
We plan to continue engagement with faith communities in the area to mobilize support for affordable housing in the form of actual homes on land owned by those communities, financial and in-kind support to affordable housing organizations, and community organizing for meaningful policy change.
If you or someone you know attended the event or you missed it and want to know more, we would love to connect! Email Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback, reflections, or questions.
In the early spring of 2022, a blossoming relationship between Pee Wee Homes and local foundation, Healthier, Greener, Kinder, was forming. Almost simultaneously, a request for screen doors from residents emerged, and the “Dignified Doors” project was born. The purpose of Dignified Doors is to provide residents with another source of natural light, air circulation, and social connectedness to neighbors and community members. The project is intended to promote resident engagement with their outdoor space and connection to community. When asked about the new updates, Pee Wee Homes resident Smalls (pictured right) shared the following reflection:
“I love my new chair and relaxing on the porch, it’s so comfortable!”
The project would not have been a success without the help of numerous volunteers from UNC, the Orange County community, and beyond. Volunteers installed 5 dual-functioning storm doors with screens to provide all Pee Wee Homes residents with increased access to fresh air, natural light, and visibility. A fresh coat of paint for the doors and surrounding trim was put up, and sustainable, durable porch furniture was assembled to provide residents a comfortable place to enjoy their newly renovated porches! Residents were able to choose which style chair best suited their needs, some chose rocking chairs, while others chose more traditional chairs. Now all Pee Wee Homes residents have freshly painted entryways, functional screen doors, and porch furniture to enjoy for years to come! Already, residents have been sharing the enjoyment and comfort they feel in the newly renovated space.
Healthier, Greener, Kinder Foundation
We look forward to many more years of partnership with the Healthier, Greener, Kinder Foundation. To read more about the foundation that made this work possible, please visit their website by clicking their logo.
We’re excited to introduce the Pee Wee Homes community to Laura Batts, Graduate Intern from Duke Divinity School!
Laura is a Master of Divinity student at Duke Divinity School. She joined us in September 2022 and will be focused on connecting with faith communities in Chapel Hill that are interested in affordable housing. Laura is originally from central Indiana from a small town called Clayton. She attended Anderson University (IN) and received her bachelors in Christian Ministries and Mathematics. Laura enjoys being outside, drinking coffee, and being creative in various arts, crafts, and DIY projects. She also enjoys spending time with her friends and family in the Triangle area, including her fiancé, Sam, (they will be married in June of 2023). After graduation, Laura intends to continue pursuing community oriented and creative ministry.
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.
We need your help to build three new affordable tiny homes on Hill Street in Carrboro. These homes will provide much needed private, permanent and dignified housing to our community members who have experienced homelessness and housing insecurity. The Carrboro Town Council is meeting on September 28 at 7:00pm to discuss and hear public comments on our proposal to rezone the lot to allow construction of these extremely affordable homes. We are asking YOU, our beloved supporters, to speak up and let Council know that we are a welcoming community – that all of us deserve safe, affordable housing.
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.