- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Social service providers and city officials in Bloomington have discussed building tiny houses of about 350 square feet to help the homeless.

The Pantagraph (https://bit.ly/1btI4YK ) reports a group met Monday to talk about the idea in a discussion coordinated by Lori Kimbrough, homeless services supervisor for local organization Providing Access to Help.

Kimbrough imagines the houses would have a living space, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. The village would have a shared community building and be near public transportation. Residents would be connected with social services.

Tiny house villages have been built for the homeless in cities such as Madison, Wisconsin, and Olympia, Washington. Kimbrough said her vision is based on a village that’s near Ithaca, New York.

In McLean County, Kimbrough said she’d like to start with six to eight tiny houses.

Finding the homeless a place to live can save money elsewhere, Kimbrough said. The homeless typically stay in a hospital four days longer than patients who aren’t homeless, she said.

Kimbrough said she would want the village to be financed by donors, and that she hopes social service workers would volunteer or work at a set rate. At the meeting, Matt Drat of Home Sweet Home Ministries expressed concerns about social services funding and whether donations would be diverted from existing homelessness services.

Officials at the meeting said they would seek answers to questions about affordability and whether it would have public support.

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Information from: The Pantagraph, https://www.pantagraph.com


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