WXXI AM News

Rochester nonprofit proposes 'tiny home' village to tackle homelessness, lack of affordable housing

Feb 19, 2019

Credit freeimages.com/Svilen Milev

The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative recently received nearly 300 ideas for projects to address poverty in the community.

One of five plans that won a grant through a participatory budget process is a "tiny home" village for formerly homeless people and others who need affordable housing.

"We're thinking to try and create a mixed demographic is much healthier for the quality of life the village would benefit,” said Peter Peters, co-chair of REACH Advocacy. “People would begin to develop their own social patterns and their own social responsibilities. We think each village (would have) some sort of council to determine its quality of life."

REACH, which stands for Rochesterians Engaging in Action for the Chronically Homeless, is a community group that formed several years ago to seek emergency shelter for people in the winter months.

The nonprofit is interested in acquiring a parcel of land on St. Paul Street where they would build a village of homes of 200 to 300 square feet.

But first they need the approval of Rochester City Council for zoning changes and the land purchase itself.   Peters said they met recently with some department heads at City Hall

"And whilst they've not given us an authorization to go ahead, they didn't discourage us, either. They wanted us to come back with more detailed planning."

REACH also envisions a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility where urban residents, veterans, and others would be trained to build the homes

"So we think that there is a strong anti-poverty and job readiness aspect to our plans."

Peters said REACH intends to present City Council with detailed plans sometime this spring. Click on the LISTEN link above to hear more details in an interview with Peter Peters.