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Pittsburgh leaders look at small homes for people experiencing homelessness

Pittsburgh leaders look at small homes for people experiencing homelessness
Pittsburgh leaders look at small homes for people experiencing homelessness 02:06

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh City Council has tossed around the idea of creating a village of managed tiny houses to give the unhoused population a place to live. 

The hope is to get people from transitional housing to permanent housing.

Just down Grant Street from where some of this action is legislated are some of the places where the unhoused population is living in Pittsburgh. The goal is to get the streets and into safer homes.

The Pittsburgh Planning Commission agreed to an eight-week extension before voting on the measure brought forth by Pittsburgh City Council members Deb Gross and Anthony Coghill.

"Whether it's the administration, the county, the planning commission, we're looking for people who want to be part of the solution like we do," District 4 Councilmember Anthony Coghill said.

The bill calls for tiny houses and zoning to allow for villages to be in the North Side and Downtown. They would come with a common area for hygiene and social services.  

"They can be safer, cleaner, and warmer," District 7 Councilmember Deb Gross said.

According to Coghill, the homes can be built in about three days for about $1,800, compared to $500,000 for a new apartment. Gross said there are wait lists for people trying to get into affordable houses and they need a place to stay. 

During the Planning Commission's public comment, some argued this bill doesn't solve the problem. They questioned why only the North Side and Downtown would be looked at for these villages.

"This bill, and I've read this bill, has many, many flaws with it. They have to correct it to make it even viable," William Goodrich of Brighton Heights said.

Others argued that we have to try more to address the issue. Just throwing up our hands and giving up is not a solution.

"It's hard to understand the urgency that's really required if you've never slept on a sidewalk. If you have, you know we've waited way too long," Sam Schmidt said.

Gross and Coghill said about 100 other cities have tried a measure like this. They've spoken with groups and councils to see what is working for them to try and apply it here.

"We've modeled some of the legislation after them. We're getting great advice and that's much appreciated," Gross said.

The hope is that if everything passes and stays on schedule, they will have some of these tiny villages in time for next winter.

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