A South Carolina church has put a plan in motion to develop a village of tiny houses to help homeless women in the area find shelter and much-needed community. The congregation hopes to have the homes constructed no later than 2021.
First Baptist Church of Spartanburg is committed to building 20 tiny houses plus a commons building after they meet with local government boards next year.
The small community will be constructed on the property they own in the Northside of the city, in proximity to a ministry the church has already established to aid those less fortunate called “The Bridge.”
First Baptist missions pastor Steve Wise told The Christian Post that the idea to build the village derived from several factors. Not only was the church looking to expand its homeless ministry, but local groups, including the Northside Development Group, requested their help.
“We’ve been very much aware of the problems our homeless face and the problems in the city of meeting homeless needs for a while,” Wise explained.
“Together with what we already knew about homelessness, conversations that were going on in our city with a homeless task force and others, that’s how we came to make that decision.”
Wise revealed that each tiny home will cost approximately $30,000 to build, while the commons building will require another $200,000 to construct. This center hub will be used for community gatherings for the homeless.
Some people have already committed to cover the cost of construction, and the church will rely on volunteer labor to keep other costs at a minimum.
“The tiny houses are not designed for cooking and eating. They will [be] very simple, but we want mealtimes to be a community time,” Wise told CP.
“There will be some meetings with everybody that we’ll be having weekly and there’ll be some special trainings and they’ll be one-on-one mentoring and coaching that happens and that building will provide some of the space for that,” he added.
With the cost of materials and labor taken care of, the other main hurdle is getting the plans approved by the local zoning commission and a design review board. While this is often the more painstaking part of a project, Wise said the church feels “very good about getting” things approved.
“First and foremost, God cares about everyone. He certainly cares about our homeless friends,” Wise emphasized. “We really think God can do something amazing here and can bring about solutions.”