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Tiny House for Homeless construction underway in Rock Hill

Tiny House for Homeless construction underway in Rock Hill
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ROCK HILL

Dale Dove is trying to eliminate the problem of homelessness - beginning with one tiny house.

Founder of Renew Our Community, a homeless service located in the heart of Rock Hill, Dove and other volunteers have started building a “tiny house” they hope will be the first of many to provide inexpensive shelter for those currently living on the streets.

“Right now we are just trying to build a prototype,” Dove said. “We have the interior design layout and we are trying to make decisions about what’s functional, what’s energy efficient, what’s cost effective and what’s livable.”

The construction team of 12, including local contractors and decorators, began the project assembling the trailer with wheels to hold the weight of the house. It will weight less than 10,000 pounds.

The 120-square-foot house can be pulled with a truck and requires no wide load permit. It’s assembled with screws and glue instead of nails, which makes the house stronger, Dove said.

The houses will connect to municipal water and sewer. Being mobile and small in size will reduce the burden on city services, he argues. But there are concerns among some Rock Hill officials, he said.

Dove has been talking with the city for more than two years, he said, and there are concerns about where these homes will be parked.

“I know it’s a concern, I live here and I’ve lived here most of my life,” Dove said. “But these houses are what I call responsible living and affordable living.”

Recently, Los Angeles city officials confiscated seven tiny homes from sidewalks. These homes, smaller than ROC’s model, are 6-by-8 foot and have solar panels on the roof. There is a concern regarding health and safety risks that officials say might put occupants of those homes in danger.

Once volunteers here have finalized the prototype plan, Dove said ROC hopes to build a large number in a short period of time in order to address the need for immediate housing.

“We are going to build them based on the demand.”

Dove expects the first house to be built in a month and a half, but hopes to cut that time down to 20 days for future houses.

“At that time we will start putting folks to work as part of ROC Works, our job training initiative,” Dove said.

South Carolina’s annual point-in-time count identified 5,354 homeless persons on a given night in January 2015, with about 35 percent of those interviewed labeled as unsheltered homeless. That was a six percent increase over last year and compares with 5,040 homeless persons identified in the 2014 point-in-time count. Source: South Carolina Coalition for the Homeless.

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