Locals Organize Plan to Build Tiny Houses for Chattanooga's Homeless

Locals say tiny houses are a trending solution to decreasing the homeless population in cities cross the country. Now they want to bring them to Chattanooga.

Allan Cantrell works doing home renovations on a daily basis.

The house he's working on this week and the dream he has for his next volunteer project are both much bigger than what he intends to build.

"We want to make a small community of tiny homes," he said.

A tiny house is what it sounds like- a small shed-like structure that provides basic shelter.

"It will probably be about 10 feet tall and in the neighborhood of 8 foot by 10 foot," he explained.

Cantrell woke up to a Facebook post about a GoFundMe page started Wednesday. It aims to organize a similar effort to build tiny homes for homeless people.

He says his non-profit Scenic City Ark, is now involved.

"We have a pretty good sized homeless problem here in Chattanooga," Cantrell said. "We are looking into maybe setting up a garden or small farm where they can be self-sustainable and grow their own food."

Cantrell says he thinks it will cost about $500 to put up a tiny house structure, before electrical costs.

"It will be a roof over their head, a bed to lay on and if everything goes well we might be able to heat them and maybe put air conditioners in them," he said.

He says the biggest challenge will be finding a place to build the community- because who will want it their neighborhood?

"That will be another issue as well but at the same time, we are getting them off the streets, into a safe environment," he said. "So that we don't have to deal with them on the sidewalks of the street it'll help with the panhandling issues."

Cantrell says groups will hold the first meeting to discuss this project Thursday at 1:30 at Community Pie downtown.

They will draw up a plan to present to Mayor Andy Berke on February 5th.

We reached out to mayor berke about bringing the tiny house movement to Chattanooga.

In a statement, he said, "Housing our City's homeless veterans and others experiencing homelessness, requires a mix of solutions paired with wraparound services. It's exciting to see more people in our community offering solutions that helps some of our most vulnerable."

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