Tiny Housing Update 2: Second Wind Case Study

I’ve recently been working on researching the most appealing of my case studies- Second Wind Cottages in Newfield, NY. Ideally, this would be the community model I would want to see replicated for the Williamsburg area. Here’s an overview of this organization:

– Second Wind Cottages are for homeless men to find a safe home in a supportive atmosphere to develop life skills to reintegrate into the workforce

– The property lays on 7 acres with 18 houses- the first 15 are complete and the other 3 will be completed by November of 2018. The land was donated by a current board member

– Residents pay a program fee if/when they are able, but one’s inability to pay does not exclude them from the program

– Funding comes from private individuals, grants, businesses, etc. and cottages are built with volunteer labor

– The cost for each cottage is about $15,000, and all furnishings are donated

– Some businesses discount products for Second Wind

– Residents have regular meetings with staff for personal growth, drug/alcohol counseling and have access to meals and social events, laundry, exercise equipment, etc.

– Second Wind is conveniently located near a public transit route

Here is the Floor Plan for each unit. As I mentioned in my last post, one can creatively navigate zoning laws requiring a certain number of houses on a given lot by using a roof or other structure to connect houses to each other, making them potentially count as one building. On paper, this housing solution appears to be a great intermediate living situation to get homeless men back on their feet. This community is relatively new, though, so I’ll have to wait to see the data on how successful this organization is. This living situation differs from crisis housing/rescue centers in that rescue centers are short term and do not offer the same counseling and personal aid to acclimate homeless men to a working environment.

While there are a few other case studies (which I will talk about in my next post), Second Wind has the advantage of using donated land and enforcing lower construction costs per unit. Other sites have much higher construction costs and mandatory program fees. At the same time, some of these organizations also have financial support from the city. 

Let’s take a step back- why is this project so important in the first place? According to endhomelessness.org, the main reason people become homeless is because they can’t find affordable housing. Once one becomes homeless, it is increasingly difficult to get back into the workforce. This transitional housing can help homeless people find their way back into a working environment and live in an affordable situation until they are financially stable. Counselors and volunteers can also help these people search for jobs and affordable housing during their stay. I am also optimistic about the eventual adoption of this solution because tiny houses are growing in popularity with shows like Tiny House Hunters and the general appeal of a minimalist, low-cost lifestyle. 

As a final thought, William and Mary could get involved in this project by volunteering time to help residents with job and housing searches, creating resumes and helping to construct houses. 

 

 

Sources

https://www.secondwindcottages.org

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