See Peterborough’s first ‘little house’ for homeless people

Peterborough’s first ‘little house’ for homeless people will be on traveling display at Grace United Church, St. Peter-in-Chains Cathedral, Emmanuel United Church and the Purple Onion Festival from August 27-25 September 2022. Supported by Fundraising by Grace United Church and built by local businesses and volunteers, the model sleeping cabin is the first step in an initiative by local organization Peterborough Action for Tiny Homes (PATH) to create a village of small houses. (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Action for Tiny Homes)

A grassroots initiative to build a village of 50 “tiny houses” for the homeless in Peterborough is one step closer to reality.

Peterborough Action for Tiny Homes (PATH) will unveil its first “tiny house” – a sleeping cabin with a lockable door – at 1 p.m. on Saturday August 27 at Grace United Church at 581 Howden Street in Peterborough.

Members of the public are invited to join in the launch celebration, which will include a tour of the model cabin with live music from Paul Cragg and others, poetry and homemade treats.

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Chris Cleary of Cleary Homes, who built the cabin with a volunteer construction team led by Ross Allen of Grace United Church, will be at the celebration with Allen.

Drew Merrett of Merrett Home Hardware supplied the materials for the cabin at cost along with Ken Wood of Charlotte Paint and Wallpaper. In partnership with PATH, Grace United Church raised $10,000 in a fundraising initiative led by church member Bev Templar.

“I’ve always been passionate about solving homelessness,” Templar said in a press release.

In partnership with Peterborough Action for Tiny Homes, Grace United Church raised $10,000 to fund the model sleeping cabin, which was built by Cleary Homes and a volunteer construction crew with materials provided at cost by Merrett Home Hardware and Charlotte Paint and Wallpaper.  Left to right: Rudy Verhoeven, Chris Cleary of Cleary Homes and Ross Allen of Grace United Church.  (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Action for Tiny Homes)
In partnership with Peterborough Action for Tiny Homes, Grace United Church raised $10,000 to fund the model sleeping cabin, which was built by Cleary Homes and a volunteer construction crew with materials provided at cost by Merrett Home Hardware and Charlotte Paint and Wallpaper. Left to right: Rudy Verhoeven, Chris Cleary of Cleary Homes and Ross Allen of Grace United Church. (Photo courtesy of Peterborough Action for Tiny Homes)

At the launch celebration, retired priest Father Leo Coughlin and PATH Steering Committee member Marie Howran will present the group’s vision: a group of brightly painted cabins surrounded by a secure fence. with attractive murals, which will be operational for the winter, when PATH hopes to house 15 homeless people.

This initial group will be based on a campground model, with ancillary outbuildings including toilets and showers (while the cabins will have electricity for lights and heating, they will not have indoor plumbing). The group’s ultimate vision is a village of 50 self-sufficient mini-houses.

PATH is also committed to finding complementary services to support the village, including trauma-informed care and employment opportunities in social enterprises.

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“All social service costs go down when people have a house to shelter in,” says Dave Sumner, who helped build the first cabin and helps administer PATH. facebook public group. “Police calls are reduced. Medical emergency calls are reduced. Fire and police departments are not required to relocate unwanted tent communities. The fear and worry of downtown businesses and shoppers is reduced. Placing vulnerable people in accommodation is a low-cost solution with every conceivable benefit. This is a victory our municipal leaders can boast about.

The idea of ​​using sleeping cabins to reduce homelessness as an alternative to traditional shelters and tents in public spaces is not new. Tiny houses give people a roof over their heads, a door they can lock, and a sense of security – which advocates say is key to getting out of homelessness. Many US states have already turned to tiny homes, and in Ontario, the cities of Kingston and Kitchener have both implemented tiny home projects.

In Kingston, a group called Our Livable Solutions has created a community of sleeping cabins at Portsmouth Olympic Harbor in a pilot project initially funded by $257,000 from the province’s Social Services Pandemic Relief Fund and a private donation of $150,000. Kingston’s project cabins are fully insulated and wired with four 20 amp outlets, interior light, exterior light, heater, air exchanger, and tamper-proof smoke and CO2 detector. The community has shared bathrooms and showers, which residents help keep clean.

In Kingston, a group called Our Livable Solutions has created a community of sleeping cabins at Portsmouth Olympic Harbor as part of a pilot project.  Kingston's project cabins are fully insulated and wired with four 20 amp outlets, interior light, exterior light, heater, air exchanger, and tamper-proof smoke and CO2 detector.  The community has shared bathrooms and showers, which residents help keep clean.  (Photo courtesy of Our Living Solutions)
In Kingston, a group called Our Livable Solutions has created a community of sleeping cabins at Portsmouth Olympic Harbor as part of a pilot project. Kingston’s project cabins are fully insulated and wired with four 20 amp outlets, interior light, exterior light, heater, air exchanger, and tamper-proof smoke and CO2 detector. The community has shared bathrooms and showers, which residents help keep clean. (Photo courtesy of Our Living Solutions)

In Kitchener, the “A Better Tent City” project consists of a row of 24 insulated cabins and an interior heating space, garbage and recycling, kitchen, restrooms, showers and laundry room. Activist Tony D’Amato Stortz, who has worked at A Better Tent City for over a year, recently published a book titled A Home of Their Own: A Guide to Creating a Tiny Home Community.

For those unable to attend PATH’s August 27 launch event at Grace United Church, the sleeping cabin model will remain on display at the church until September 3. Peter-in-Chains at 411 Reid Street September 3-10, Emmanuel United Church at 534 George Street North September 10-17, and the Purple Onion Festival at Millennium Park September 25.

At these locations, members of the public can take a look at the hut and ask questions of the volunteers, including some people who have been (or are currently) homeless.

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“People are encouraged to sign up for shifts at the hut or to volunteer for the many needs of this incredible grassroots project,” says Charlene Avon, the hut’s traveling tour coordinator. “Everyone needs a place to sleep, and we can be part of the solution.”

To help support PATH’s Small Houses Initiative for Peterborough, you can donate at the August 27 launch event at Grace United Church. The church is also challenging other faith groups, businesses and individuals to raise funds to build additional sleeping cabins for the project.

For more information, email [email protected] or call Charlene Avon at 705-761-4408.

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