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Bozeman non-profit award could benefit ‘tiny homes’ to help homeless

Posted at 3:41 PM, May 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-27 18:25:36-04

BOZEMAN, Mont. – A Bozeman non-profit that is working on a plan to build a village of tiny homes just got a big helping hand.

The Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) received a contract from mortgage association Fannie Mae that could be a step in the right direction.

“We were able to kind of put some early program designs and pieces into play and this funding, of course, will just help us expand on that effort,” says Tracy Menuez, HRDC associate director.

HRDC’s goal is to stop just talking about better, healthier housing and learn how to make it better.

One solution: tiny homes that measure out to be about 200 square feet in size.

For Menuez and the rest of the non-profit, help from tiny homes like the prototype on MSU’s campus could now be within reach.

“We’ve been working with Fannie Mae on our scope of work and what types of deliverables we’ll be able to produce over the two year period,” Menuez says. “This one was really focused on intersection between healthy housing and better healthcare outcomes.”

The non-profit was awarded $500,000, included in a contract that has HRDC building 12 tiny homes within two years.

“This isn’t a capital contribution on this program, but it’s one of the first times that we’ve really had the opportunity to do some research in learning and really intentional planning,” Menuez says.

A large patch of lawn off of Griffin and Rouse just north of downtown Bozeman is a potential spot purchased by HRDC where a few of the homes could be built, but that depends, according to Menuez.

“We may or may not use it for the pilot,” Menuez says. “We’re still trying to decide if that’s the most appropriate site for our pilot. It’s a larger site that we’ll have some other functions on it, as well.”

Menuez adds deciding where the homes could go is an important thing to think about.

Infrastructure aside, each one costs about $10,000 to build, which could really help those in need by giving them a place to go.

“To me, this is the piece that allows us to actually spend the time to deliberately design a long term solution,” Menuez says.

HRDC is working on a fully ADA-compliant model now, which should be finished in June.

The Fannie Mae contract will help the completion of that project, as well.

Reporting by Cody Boyer for MTN News