THE founder of a thriving $30-a-month hometown has revealed he was forced to change community rules after it sat virtually empty for a year.
In Bernalillo County, New Mexico, the state’s most populous area centered around Albuquerque, a famous multimillion-dollar tiny house village has struggled to attract residents for some time.
The region’s Tiny Home Village program was launched in February 2021 with the intent of providing affordable housing for residents in need, according to the local outlet KRQE.
Construction cost county officials $4.9 million, and within two years barely four residents remained in the community.
The $30 monthly rent and utilities, as well as the sobriety requirement, allegedly deterred potential tenants, said program manager Sarah Spain.
On Wednesday, Spain confirmed the county is making changes and residents are moving in quickly.
“We’ve revised the criteria by which someone can move in here and really just removed the barriers that people have when they’re unhoused or unsafe,” she told the news station.
“You used to have to have a certain level of sobriety to get in here.”
In addition to the sobriety requirement and the $30 monthly fee, other strict rules are said to have contributed to others not wanting to use the housing project.
Spain also found that the small home village was suffering from a staff shortage, meaning there was no round-the-clock care for those who needed it.
Since then, adjustments have been made, including eliminating the $30 fee and the sobriety requirement.
The manager noted that it is critical to make adjustments to ensure safe housing is provided to those in the Bernalillo County area who need it.
“We have really worked to restore the criteria and the interview process to get people who are unhoused into safe housing as quickly as possible,” Spain told KRQE.
Spain added that all but four spots in the multimillion-dollar tiny home village in New Mexico were filled.
“Currently we are almost at capacity, so we have occupied 26 of the 30 houses, which is a great achievement,” she noted.
Other managers confirmed to the outlet that the adjustments were made in February 2023, exactly two years after the village opened, and have since helped at least 24 residents transition into safe housing.
There is even reportedly a waiting list of over 50 applications that managers are still sorting through.
Some new residents have expressed their gratitude for their small home village.
Resident Dannette Todd noted that the community has been a “blessing” over the past six months as she was previously homeless and living in her car.
“When I slept in my car or with people from church, I felt like a lonely worm,” she told KRQE.
“[I] I didn’t know where to go and when I went there it was like the cocoon I needed to feel safe and now when I have my own place I will spread my butterfly wings.”
For more related content, check out The US Sun’s coverage of the opening of a new small home village with buildings big enough for families.
The US program “Sun” also says that residents of a tiny shared apartment can test for $150.