- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2016

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) - Officials in southern Utah are considering a new idea to house the overflow at a homeless shelter that’s bursting at the seams: tiny houses.

The Switchpoint shelter in St. George has 64 beds available, but their waiting list often tops 100 and the board is now looking at new options to relieve the pressure, KUTV reported (https://bit.ly/2eyYWC4).

One idea is to build about 100 mini-homes, each about 400 square feet, Switchpoint board member Tim Martin said. The homes would be built on a 15-acre plot of land and each big enough for a bed, countertops and other necessary amenities.

It’s a concept being tried out in cities around the country but would be a first for St. George, so board members went to Austin, Texas, to tour a tiny home park.

Officials in St. George estimate the project would cost about $3 million and be paid for with donations.

Some of that money could come from businesses that would get to name the home in recognition of their donation.

“That would help pay for the infrastructure and the ongoing costs to keep it going,” Martin said.

KUTV reports several people staying at the shelter thought the idea has promise as well.

Though it’s still in the concept stages for now, the project could be underway in the next year if the shelter decides to move forward.

The idea comes as leaders 300 miles north in Salt Lake City consider how to address the needs of hundreds of homelessness people there. The city council set aside nearly $30 million last week for homeless resource centers and affordable housing.

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