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Concept for tiny houses unveiled in Rock Island

Concept for tiny houses unveiled in Rock Island

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The director of a Detroit social services agency spoke at Rock Island Township about 25 tiny houses built in Detroit that provide housing for the homeless, with the hope that the idea will inspire a similar project in the Quad Cities. 

Rev. Faith Fowler, executive director of Cass Community Social Services and developer of tiny houses in Detroit, gave a presentation Sept. 8 at the Rock Island Township Hall about the tiny homes concept to residents, elected officials, developers, and city staff.

"It’s about economic mobility more than residential stability, which is the American dream and which for most of us is tied to home ownership," Fowler said, noting the program will allow people who would normally never qualify for a mortgage "to own a home that I’m guessing will be worth $50,000 to $60,000 one day."

Fowler is the pastor of Cass Community United Methodist Church in Detroit and heads the nonprofit agency that also provides housing, health support services and employment programs for people with no or very low incomes.

The tiny houses, no bigger than 400 square feet, can sit on individual 30-by-100-foot lots. Of the 15 homes Fowler helped construct in Detroit, eight are occupied by a person who at one point in their lives had been homeless.

Fowler is hopeful a local municipality could construct 25 tiny houses, all built to code on concrete foundations designed to be permanent living spaces and not just transitional housing.

With an estimated construction value of $45,000 to $55,000, the houses are designed with grants from corporations, foundations and churches and employ local tradespeople in their construction. Donations of labor and building materials also are accepted.

Fowler said the houses provide an opportunity to build generational wealth for chronically poor people living paycheck to paycheck.

Fowler also is an adjunct professor for the University of Michigan and a recipient of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Global Poverty Award. She is the author of "Tiny Homes in a Big City."

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