Questions surround the future of ‘tiny homes’ for the homeless in Huntsville

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The volunteers spearheading the 'tiny homes' for the homeless effort went before Huntsville City Council Thursday night.

Foundations for Tomorrow founder Nicky Beale, as well as UAHuntsville's Phi Kappa Psi president Taylor Reed pleaded with city leaders to allow their project to materialize.

"We are going to continue to build them and it will be up to you guys whether we can allow the homeless to live in them or not," said Beale.

Their initial goal is to provide 30 'tiny homes' to Huntsville's homeless as a more permanent residence. The structures require no electricity or plumbing and this is what has city leaders concerned.

"We absolutely applaud the initiative," said city administrator John Hamilton. "We love the motivation, we love the passion they have for helping the community. It's really a question of, can we do it the right way where it's genuinely a help to the community."

"Our very first concern is just the safety and is this a humane way to house people and that's our number one concern. Then second to that would be what's an appropriate location."

Hamilton says that he questions both the safety of the homes, as well as their legality.

Volunteers completed the first tiny home Thursday and displayed it in front of city hall for the public to tour.

As controversial as they may be, Reed told the council that the homes are proof that the community is eager and willing to help the city's homeless.

"People aren't in love with tiny homes, they're in love with people. We're in love with the homeless. We're in love with our community. We want to see our community off the streets, that's all we want."

Hamilton says the project is well-intentioned, but this is an issue with no overnight solution.

"There's a lot of work to be done to do this the right way and I certainly think this is one of those cases where as a community, we could speed up by slowing down a little bit."