FH#3 - TINY HOMES BLOCK INTERVENTION
"A roof and a set of keys is 90 percent more effective than any other homelessness solution," - George Chmael, the CEO of Council Fire.
The Tiny House movement is by no means new, but has yet to truly take hold in Australia, and not in any form here in Hobart. Yet, at the same time, there is an increasing awareness that for various reasons, the 'slack' within the rental market needed to allow it to operate correctly has evaporated in Hobart. Stories within the local press of people having to camp in the cities parkland and showground surely depict a homelessness problem that cannot be a reflection of a healthy society.
Tiny houses can provide an affordable tool for combating homelessness by getting people off the streets and into their own space, thus offering them both shelter and a measure of self-respect. Micro-housing communities, like Square One/Opportunity Village in Eugene, Oregon has 30 tiny homes that provide shelter for citizens in need. Each tenant lives in an 80-square-feet space and shares a common kitchen, community space and bathrooms.
At the same time, here in Hobart there are clear gaps within the fringe townscape of the CBD that are underused or provide a poor quality streetscape in the form of surface parking. Whilst not suitable for long term occupation, do they offer an opportunity to take a step towards both addressing the homelessness issue and the danger of producing a City with only a very limited social makeup?
Taking for example the car park serving the Salvation Army offices on Elizabeth Street. Advances in temporary light weight decking used for short term car parking offer an opportunity to build a temporary deck linked to Elizabeth Street, re-purpose this space for short term sheltered accommodation whilst maintaining the car parking below. Fanciful perhaps, but could this provide an opportunity to redefine our townscape, bring much needed variety to the streetscape and most importantly, show that Hobart is a city for all?