Chapel Hill church unveils new ‘tiny homes’ to address homelessness

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Beverly Ferreiro and Sally Council live near the Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill.

But soon, they’ll have new neighbors with three tiny homes located on the church’s property.

“We’re so happy to have it in the neighborhood,” Ferreiro said. “It’s such a wonderful thing. You look at these houses, and you see all of the people that need homes, and the church has taken this on as a mission. It’s just incredible.”

“I’m assuming that we’ll be meeting people the way you meet anybody in your neighborhood,” Council added.

Rev. Lisa Fischbeck said building the homes this past year, partnering with Pee Wee Homes, has been a community effort, providing a place for those who currently are at-risk of becoming homeless.

“People who have a history of homelessness, are currently homeless and have a regular income between $400 and $1,200 a month,” Fischbeck said. “It gives you a sense of dignity and a sense of independence to be in your own home. And yet, that independence is within the context of interdependence with the community and with one another. It’s a nice balance, I think.”

Fischbeck said this project costs is about $165,000. They’ve had help with donations and grants from people in the community, local organizations, the Town of Chapel Hill and UNC.

Jim Sander is a builder living in Orange County. He and others believe this will help many for years to come.

“This would make you feel better, no matter who you are,” Sander said. “It’s getting more and more expensive to build. Building lots are more expensive. Utilities are more expensive. Small homes are becoming a better and better option for more and more people.”

“We’re hoping that this will be a bit of a jump start, and that things will increase exponentially, that more and more of these houses, or similar models, will emerge around the region,” Fischbeck added.

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