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Group envisions tiny home community for homeless in Sitka

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - An advocacy group is evaluating the use of tiny homes to provide housing for people who are homeless in the southeast Alaska city of Sitka.

Gayle Young, co-founder of the Sitka Homeless Coalition, said there are few services in Sitka for those who are homeless and that over the years, a number of groups have worked on ideas to fill in the gaps. A project her group is working on involves building a tiny home community to help provide a safe place to stay.

Young estimates between 15 and 25 people in the city of about 8,500 residents are chronically experiencing homelessness. Young said most of those who have not had a home for years are men who were raised in Sitka and are now in their 50s and 60s, Alaska’s News Source reported. She said they often leave Sitka on a ferry in the winter due to limited services.

Planning for the tiny home community is in its early stages. For example, there still needs to be a feasibility analysis, partners identified and development of a business and financing plan.

The plan envisioned would involve a plot of land north of town, with at least 12 tiny homes and a building for laundry and showers, Young said. Coalition members also would like to develop a community atmosphere with communal features like a fire pit, she said.

The estimated cost for the proposal is about $1.1 million.

Young said the coalition is gauging community interest, showing what this or a similar plan could look like and speaking with agencies that might be interested in joining the effort.
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