Church-supported charity to create tiny house community for low-income families

Monroe Street United Methodist Church of Toledo, Ohio. | Larry Clark

A charity with strong ties to a United Methodist congregation in Ohio plans to create a tiny house community on property near their church for low-income families.

The Monroe Street Neighborhood Center, a group located at Monroe Street United Methodist Church of Toledo that is separate from the church, plans to begin construction on the first house as early as this summer.

Known as Bluff City Village, the project will create around 20 houses at an estimated cost of $1 million, each 400 square feet in size, and charge $400 a month in rent for families living there.

Monroe Street pastor Larry Clark, who also serves as project director for Bluff City Village, told The Christian Post that the idea for the village derived from discussions over “how we could redevelop Bluff Street which is next to our church.”

“The street once had houses but now is empty lots,” explained Clark. “We also saw an opportunity to service many of the people who take advantage of our program called ‘The Bridge.’ On Tuesdays we serve a light lunch and provide food, clothing, and social services to people in need.”

“The idea for Bluff Street Village came from the Tiny Home development in Detroit at Cass Community. These houses will be barrier free so those with mobility issues can live in these houses.” 

The exterior of a tiny house prototype for a planned community for homeless veterans at the property of Faith Lutheran Church of Forest Lake, Minnesota. | Courtesy Faith Lutheran Church

Presently, the project is in the fundraising stage. The church controls six lots on the block while the rest of the space is owned by Toledo/Lucas County Land Bank, which is also committed to the project.

Clark told CP that they were building tiny houses because they fit on a small urban lot and do not have to adhere to the same building codes as larger houses. 

“The tiny houses are also more affordable to build and therefore enable more to be built.  These houses are for single people or couples,” he continued.

“As we move forward we envision that we may build larger homes on adjacent streets for families. We are creating a community where people can sit out on their front porch and have a yard in which they can plant flowers or grow vegetables.”

Monroe Street UMC is not the only church looking to support the construction of a tiny house community to benefit the poor and homeless. 

Faith Lutheran Church of Forest Lake, Minnesota, recently voted to support the creation of a tiny house community to help homeless veterans known as “Sacred Settlement.”

Faith Lutheran Senior Pastor John Klawiter told CP in an earlier interview that the concept of the Sacred Settlement “matches the values of our congregation in many ways.”

“We have a lot of members who have served or are actively in the military. We have a newly established veterans committee that will walk alongside any of the veterans that live in the Sacred Settlement,” said Klawiter.

“Faith Lutheran also has a long history of helping support homeless ministry, which includes the establishment of a family shelter in nearby Hugo.”

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