MIDDLEFIELD, NY - Otsego County is working on a plan to house homeless people in tiny houses.
One of the ideas is to save money in housing costs. The county pays out about a million dollars a year housing the homeless. One of the ways the county is saving money is in labor. The tiny houses are being built by Delhi Engineering Students, but Otsego County Senior Planner Erik Scrivener tells us the savings dont stop there.
"These are small compact units. We made sure to build them very energy efficient. We’re hoping to have zero-net energy out of these between heating them with geo-thermal, and powering them with solar."
Karen Sullivan is the Director of Planning for Otsego County. She tells us saving the county money was one of the overall goals.
"We’re putting in a system with grant funding that we received, so it’s not costing us anything other than our time, and therefore we’re not putting in a fossil fuel oil tank, or a propane tank to heat these units, so obviously over time that’s an energy savings and it’s a sustainability approach to how things can be done."
Building the tiny houses behind the Meadows Building provides the clients with easy access to many of the services located within the building. The construction also includes a community center as part of the overall efficiency plan. The county needs around $100,000 in funding to finish the community center, but once it’s completed it will serve a number of purposes.
Deb Finger is the Director of Income Maintenance for the Department of Social Services. She talked about the many services the community building will house.
"The community center will involve also a counseling room, so there’s an actual private room for any type of case management, counseling, treatment. We’re also looking at doing a job skills, maybe parenting classes, GED, or High School equivalency, maybe AA meetings. However we can help."
The entire project totaling 8-10 tiny homes and the community center is expected to be completed in 2021.