The First Nation Friendship Centre in Vernon is looking for some big ideas for some little homes.
In an effort to find new housing for at risk youths, the centre is promoting a design challenge for the 'Tiny Home' raffle.
“In the interest of providing low-cost housing for youth at risk, we are proposing the construction of a transportable tiny home to be raffled off as a fundraising initiative on behalf of the First Nation Friendship Centre,” said Barry McDougall Youth Programs Manager – Kekuli Apartment Manager.
The project will raise the urgency of providing housing for those facing barriers.
It is a precursor to the concept of developing a 20-unit “tiny home” community.
The centre envisions a small Vernon co-housing community that is made up of 20 tiny homes, providing housing for youth ages 19-29 facing barriers to affordable housing, with a low income and at risk of being homeless.
The co-housing facility would feature a common kitchen and recreation area. Scandinavian countries have used such a model since the early '60s. It is also similar to the community heritage and principals of Aboriginal colonies historically.
“This vision is a continuation of the successful Kekuli apartment complex, owned and operated by the First Nations Friendship Centre over the past 12 years,” said McDougall. “The Kekuli apartments focus on at-risk youth facing barriers to acquiring affordable housing.”
The City of Vernon is facing a low-income housing crisis, a situation many other communities experience across Canada, according to the centre. It wants to focus on developing housing capacity for the marginalized.
McDougall said the friendship centre gets four to five requests bi-weekly asking for space in the apartment block. “Most are turned away as vacancies are rare. A common phrase from individuals asked about their present housing is, 'I am couch surfing'.”
In order to raise awareness of the issue and the concept, FNFCS is preparing a “call of interest” from the public to support the development and construction of one tiny home. The FNFCS is seeking interest from agencies, companies and individuals to donate the materials, funding or expertise needed to construct it.
"Preliminary discussions are now underway with a number of agencies and the community as a whole seems to be very supportive of the initiative,” said McDougall. “The single unit, once completed, would be raffled off for the market price of a tiny house, estimated to be between $30,000 - $50,000. The charitable funds would then be turned back into the development of the co-housing community strategy.”