Residents have their say on tiny homes

By Albuquerque Journal

Another public meeting to discuss the proposed tiny home village concept. Another large crowd had their say.

Residents came to the theater at the African American Performing Arts Center Thursday evening for the second in a series of meetings to inform people about the tiny homes concept and discuss the sites under consideration for development.

Unlike last week, when a large crowd at the Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center overwhelmingly told county officials they were not interested in having a tiny homes village for people dealing with homelessness in their neighborhoods, this group was more evenly divided for and against.

It’s obviously an emotional issue. There was some anger, some worry and a lot of passion from those on all sides.

There were concerns and questions from speakers about location, availability of services, vetting of potential residents and cost. Some said that the homeless issue wasn’t going away, and something has to be done to address the problem.

Jim Cochran, president of the Four Hills Village Association, was concerned that the numbers just don’t add up.

“We’re not afraid of the homeless community,” Cochran said. “The problem that I have with it is that it has not been thought through well enough. They’re looking at $172 per square foot. In Four Hills, the average is $125 per square foot.”

The tiny home village is planned for a one-acre site with 25 to 35 homes. Residents will be selected through a referral system used by agencies that provide services to people experiencing homelessness.

The 116-square-foot homes are estimated to cost $17,000 to $20,000 per unit. They will be insulated, have heating and cooling and contain a bed, desk, chair and storage space. The units will be wired for electricity but not plumbing. Restrooms, showers, laundry and a kitchen will be in communal buildings.

Funding for the proposed project, along with the infrastructure, will come from a $2 million general bond county voters approved in November 2016.

Ariel Franklin, a nursing student, admitted to the assembled crowd that she is an alcoholic and drug addict. She said she hoped the conversation would include those on the streets needing help.

“Many times a week, I speak to people who live on the streets of Albuquerque, who exist in a state of constant vigilance and terror,” Franklin said. “They are survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and alcoholic and drug addiction. Every night when they go to sleep on our streets, they are robbed, beaten, harassed and raped.”

About 30 sites were suggested to Bernalillo County and an ad hoc committee developed criteria, which included availability of public transportation, water and sewer, and services, to narrow down the list.

Six recommended sites have been identified as candidates for the village: 8207 Central Ave. NW, 202-230 Louisiana NE, 7600 Southern SE, 540 Paisano NE, 12900 Central Ave. SE and 12910 Central Ave. SE. Other suitable or donated sites could also come under consideration.

All but one of the sites are south of Interstate 40 and east of Louisiana.

Residency will be open only to adults, individual or couples. Children will not be allowed to live there.

The village will be gated, self-contained, self-governed and actively managed with oversight from Bernalillo County. Residents will help with security. They would pay rent and could stay for as long as needed to become independent.

The final public meeting will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at Patrick J. Baca Library, 8081 Central Ave. NW.

This article provided by NewsEdge.