By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

They’re popping up in Portland. Eugene has them, too.

According to the Oregonian, cities across the West are using tiny home villages to shelter homeless people so they can access services and turn their lives around.

The Curry Homeless Coalition (CHC) recently began exploring the use of tiny homes, as well.

CHC Chair Beth Barker-Hidalgo said tiny homes are ideal for transitional or emergency housing.

“At this point, our interest is purely exploratory and conceptual,” Hidalgo said. “But we are happy to collaborate if other groups want to help us.”

Tiny homes and Accessory Dwelling Units could be a means to an end, according to Hidalgo.

She compared both to dorm rooms, saying they provide short-term housing for individuals caught in a housing emergency.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are tiny homes or apartments built on an existing property. An apartment added over the garage or in the basement would be an example, as would a tiny home in the backyard.

At a recent meeting of CHC’s tiny home project workgroup, participants explored the use of tiny homes and ADUs locally.

The meeting covered building code considerations, land use restrictions and surplus properties available in Curry County.

AllCare representative Cameron McVay suggested the county adopt incentives to encourage adding ADUs.

He said these incentives would create rental property and help alleviate the housing shortage in the county.

County Commissioner Court Boice provided a list of surplus properties, and the group proposed investigating a vacant RV park in Harbor.

The park already has needed infrastructure such as power, water and sewage, according to Hidalgo, but would probably need upgrades to meet code.

Hidalgo said before they could move forward, the CHC board would have to approve doing so at its March 13 meeting.

Arnold Wardwell, the construction teacher at Brookings-Harbor High School, agreed to buy certified plans, work with a plumber or electrician if needed and have his classes build a tiny home model on a trailer.

Wardwell said the model could be completed by the end of the school year.

The group plans to use to inform elected officials and residents about tiny homes and their uses.

Hidalgo said she would work with Community Development Director Carolyn Johnson on land use or zoning issues while CHC Vice Chair David Hubbard and Wardwell addressed building codes and permits.

Project supporter Rev. Bernie Lindley said, “We are figuring out how to make this work.”

He said St. Timothy’s will have a role, but it hasn’t been determined yet. Options he mentioned were to provide initial monetary support and then coordinate volunteers and supplies.

According to Lindley, finding a non-intrusive space and getting community buy-in are priorities.

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