Ed Board

Are tiny homes the way of the future when it comes to homelessness and poverty?

More stories from Faith Hultman


A special-use permit was granted to the nonprofit organization Hope Village-Tiny Housing Alternatives last Tuesday that allows for one or two tiny houses to be placed on Trinity United Methodist Church’s property in Chippewa Falls.

The tiny houses are built to house homeless people and families, and provide resources for the occupant while they get back on their feet, according to an article in the Chippewa Herald.

A group of around thirty members of the Chippewa Falls community voted in approval of this measure against homelessness and poverty.

Members of The Spectator editorial board convened Thursday to decide whether tiny homes are the way of the future when it comes to homelessness and poverty.

The first speaker agreed. “Yes. I think they’re a really low-budget option. It keeps people off the streets for a very low cost. Any home is great, even if it’s tiny.”

Another member disagreed. There are many vacant homes, and this is a huge issue that should be addressed before new homes are built, the speaker said.

“I think it’s a good idea for a city that can afford it, and that doesn’t have a lot of vacant homes already, but until that problem is solved, I don’t think it’s a good solution,” the speaker said.

A third speaker said that while vacant homes are an issue, the time required to move homeless people into vacant houses is much greater than the time required to move them into tiny homes.

“I do feel that it’s important to have a place to live that’s warm,” the speaker said, “but there would be a lot of issues in the city if they started giving away housing for free.”

Two members agreed the tiny houses provide more of a stepping stone than other options.

“I wonder if it’s more efficient to build residences that can house a lot of people, as opposed to just one person or a family of people,” another member said. “The quality of life would be larger in a tiny house, but also it would probably be more expensive.”

Another member said while a homeless shelter probably provides food for its residents, a tiny house would require that the resident purchase their own food, making it more of a building block than a free place to live.

“Tiny homes seem like a good idea for smaller towns,” another speaker said, “but larger cities like L.A. or New York don’t have parking lots and things like that to place these tiny homes.”

The Spectator editorial board voted 5-0 in favor of whether tiny homes are the way of the future when it comes to fighting homelessness and poverty.