This article is 2 years old. It was published on November 17, 2020.
Mayor Lyda Krewson today announced that a new tiny house community will soon be popping up in the City of St. Louis in an effort to provide additional access to safe shelter and compassionate care for members of the unhoused community, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“This forward-thinking, innovative, and efficient approach to housing has been done in some other cities, but never in St. Louis. I’m proud that we continue to invest more resources than any other governmental entity in the region to address various issues associated with homelessness. This tiny house community expands our current capacity to help more people and builds on our longstanding commitment to connecting those in need to more stable housing environments,” said Mayor Lyda Krewson.
In the coming days, the City intends to enter into a new lease for a property located at 900 N. Jefferson Ave., the site of the former St. Louis RV Park. The first year of the lease, in addition to the construction of the tiny homes and other related expenses, will be covered by an investment of more than $600,000 in federal CARES Act funding that the City received this spring to address the health, humanitarian, and economic impacts of COVID-19.
“With this investment, we’ll be able to create new opportunities for temporary, transitional housing and better protect our unhoused neighbors, who remain at risk of contracting this dangerous virus. I’m grateful to my staff and the various City departments who came together collaboratively and proactively to prioritize this project and the needs of the most vulnerable among us,” added Mayor Krewson.
The new community will be made up of 50 tiny houses for adult men and women, including 40 single houses, eight doubles, and two houses that are ADA compliant. To obtain shelter here, unhoused individuals will be prescreened through the existing Homeless Missourians Information System (HMIS) and placed based upon a referral.
The City also intends to contract with an experienced local social services provider to implement on-site case management and supervision. Residents will have access to wrap-around services, showers, meals, utilities, and 24/7 security.
It’s anticipated that the new tiny house community will be able to begin welcoming its first residents by December 1. Each tiny house will have a bed, desk, chair, shelving unit, heat and air conditioning, and a charging unit for electronic devices.
Mayor Krewson will ask the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, the City’s top fiscal body, to approve the proposed lease during a virtual meeting at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18.
If approved, this will mark the second tiny house village for unhoused individuals located in the City of St. Louis. The first one, announced by Mayor Krewson last month, involves a partnership with the Kansas City, Mo.-based non-profit, Veterans Community Project (VCP).
VCP is constructing 50 new tiny homes just for homeless veterans in the area of N. Grand Blvd. and Aldine Ave. north St. Louis. This village, while separate from the City’s new one, is comprised of 31 parcels of land purchased from the City’s Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) and one parcel purchased outright from the City.