A homeowner has spoken out after a homeless shelter program collapsed, leaving her with a tiny house in her backyard to pay for.
In 2017, Multnomah County in Portland, Oregon, launched a project called “A Place for You,” in which tiny homes would be built in residents’ backyards for free if they let a homeless family live in them for five years.
“I think it was all designed to be successful and then the ball was dropped,” homeowner Martha Chambers told local NBC affiliate KGW.
“I have to say it was a failure.”
Chambers was one of the first homeowners to get involved in the project.
In April 2018, a 25 square meter tiny house was built in their backyard.
It was fully furnished with a kitchen, living area, small bedroom and bathroom.
According to a, the total budget for the program was originally estimated at $550,000 Report 2018 from Multnomah County.
It was funded by Multnomah County, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, and the Meyer Memorial Trust.
“I thought, ‘Wow! “It’s a great idea and I get to keep the house in the end,” Chambers said.
Within two years, the family, who lived in Chambers’ tiny home, moved out after stress among neighbors, and then the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Chambers never found a new family in the tiny house.
“I felt let down,” she said, claiming that there wasn’t much support or support from the project’s organizers.
Chambers eventually bought the tiny house from the nonprofit organization JOIN, which inherited the project.
The homeowners said the original agreement was that they would keep the tiny homes after the homeless family had lived there for five years.
In 2018, however, the county appeared to change the terms, declaring that after five years, homeowners would have the option to purchase the home at a fair market price, according to KGW.
Three of the four homeowners selected for the program saw their families leave the tiny houses, according to people involved in the project.
The only homeowner whose family has lived in the tiny house for the past five years told the outlet, “The pilot project has potential for success.”
However, he acknowledged that the project needed more accountability and oversight.
The US Sun reached out to the Multnomah County Communications Office for comment.