Building a Village of Indoor Tiny Homes for the Homeless in Minnesota

Avivo's shelter within a shelter is giving homeless people a hand up.

Apr 20, 2021

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Building a Village of Indoor Tiny Homes for the Homeless in Minnesota | Avivo's shelter within a shelter is giving homeless people a hand up.

In a warehouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota, an amazing transformation is taking place. A village of indoor tiny homes is being built to give shelter to the homeless.

Called Avivo Village, these shelters within a shelter are being constructed to help people by providing transitional housing according to the nonprofit Avivo that works to end homelessness through recovery, mental health services, education, and job training. The first 16 residents moved in on December 30, 2020.

“We’re calling them tiny homes, they really are rooms,” Emily Bastian, Avivo’s vice president of ending homelessness told KSTP News. “Something COVID-safe, something that they could know that their belongings are going to be secured. That they could lock things up when they weren't here. Where they could go 24/7." 

Each home has a door with a lock according to the organization and there is a double secure entry to keep all the residents of this community safe. Each tiny home has four walls, a ceiling, a roof, and furnishings so it really feels like a home and not a homeless shelter. Avino village is also pet friendly so that people can keep their fur babies with them.

Prepackaged microwaveable meals are delivered daily by a food vendor and there are shower and bathroom facilities as well as free use of washers and dryers so the residents can do their own laundry.

The village is meant to be temporary transitional housing and the goal is 90 days while people can work to move into permanent housing. Bastian told KSTP. “People here will be connected with a housing case manager, and we will work on helping them exit from here into housing, permanent housing as quickly as possible.” 

The inspiration for the shelter within a shelter came from people living outdoors in the frigid Minnesota weather according to Bastian. Many people were living in encampments or parking lots. About half of them were Native Americans so the tiny homes are painted in the colors of the medicine wheel: red, yellow, green, and blue.

One resident Cheryl who was living outdoors in a tent encampment until December said, “It feels good to not have to make sure that the stakes are down in the ground when it [her tent] starts to float.”

All of the residents were referred to Avino Village by local street outreach workers according to Free Think. When fully operational there will be 100 residents in the tiny homes.

While tiny home communities for homeless people are already operating in other locations, this indoor out-of-the box idea is new and very innovative. While it doesn’t solve the housing crisis in America, it will make a positive change in the lives of the people who live there.

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Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.