- A New Jersey nonprofit has built a small community of homes for recently released inmates.
- The six 100-square-foot pods are outfitted with essentials like a bed and a mini-fridge.
- The non-profit organization hopes the Tiny Houses will establish a sense of community and better reintegrate participants into society.
A town in southern New Jersey is going out of the way to address the unstable housing of recently released inmates by providing them with small temporary homes.
A regional nonprofit, Gateway Community Action Partnership, is creating a village that includes six modules containing a bed, desk, storage space and mini-fridge, as well as heating and cooling devices.
Village of Hope, located in Bridgeton, a town of 26,610 people 50 miles east of Atlantic City, was built by tiny home maker Pallet Homes, which specializes in building tiny shelters for the homeless. shelter. The six houses were built in less than a week.
“I’m just happy that this dream has come true,” Bridgeton Mayor Albert B. Kelly, who is also founder and CEO of the Gateway Community Action Partnership, told the Burlington County Times. “That we can help those coming out of the halfway house and not have to live on the streets.”
Washington-based Pallet Homes began building homes for homeless people in 2016 and has built 63 shelter villages across the country, according to its website, including building small homes for people who have lost their home due to natural disasters. Pallet has built tiny homes in 11 different states across the country, from California to Massachusetts.
The Village of Hope is designed to help integrate newly released inmates into the community by first providing them with a place to stay. The Kintock Group, a nonprofit organization specializing in reintegration programs, donated land next to one of its halfway houses to build the 100-square-foot modules.
Although there is no regulated size, tiny homes are generally under 600 square feet.
Kintock Group chief operating officer Paul Taggines told Insider that each home costs an average of around $15,000 to build, and operating costs are expected to be less than $3,000 per month. A bill for which the Gateway Community Action Partnership will be responsible.
The stay of released inmates at the Village of Hope is capped at 180 days, but their stay is meant to be temporary.
“We are ready to welcome program participants immediately,” Taggines said. “We are working with parole to identify who they want to send into the program.”
The Kintock Group and the Gateway Community Action Partnership will also provide transitional services, such as helping them acquire government ID, finding employment and housing of their own.
“Homelessness is a problem,” Kelly said. “And that’s a way of demonstrating how we can, not only house those coming out of a halfway house, but maybe we can expand that for our homeless people in our inner cities. And that’s what we hope.”