The Tiny Home Big Community Project | Using tiny homes to help parents with behavioral health issues

The Tiny Home Big Community Project came out of a need for housing for families involved in Child Welfare Services.

Many families are not able to reunify with their children due to lack of safe housing. The idea of smaller inexpensive housing was fueled by watching tiny home shows on TV. This project was speared headed by the Senior Operations Director of the Vista Hill ParentCare Program with ideas from the Executive Director of the Friends of Vista Hill and two of the Alumni of ParentCare.

The Problem Statement we created for this project was “How might we help families with co-occurring disorders involved in Child Welfare Services to provide housing and supportive services in order to reduce fostercare placements and help with reunification.”

PROBLEM STATEMENT | How might we help families with co-occurring disorders involved in Child Welfare Services to provide housing and supportive services in order to reduce fostercare placements and help with reunification.

PROJECT PLAN

EMPATHIZE

For this project we learned that many families need housing that are Child Welfare Involved. The housing stock in San Diego is not enough for existing San Diegans. For Families struggling financially, with behavioral health challenges, involved in Child Welfare Services and with past evictions it is even harder. Tiny Homes is an inexpensive way to develop a housing community. Although there are a lot of legal and zoning issues with housing under 500 sq ft.

Foster care costs tax payers a lot of money each year. In addition it is hard to find foster homes for all the children that need placements. Foster Children often remark on how they want to be with their parents despite what their family is going through.  If there was a supportive, safe place for families to go that did not include children being removed from their parents, this would be a success. It would reduce foster care costs, it would help the families and tax payers.

Prior to this project, we did not think of all the services that would be helpful to the clients. Through this project we learned that families could really use the help of onsite psychiatry services, mobile medical bus, help for teenagers and basic needs such as laundry and  emergency food.

DEFINE

TBD

IDEATE

TBD

TBD

PROTOTYPE

Building the prototype was a way for us to see how the layout of the project would work. We realized it was important to have certain things like the playground in the middle of the complex so parents could keep an eye on their children. We learned that families value safety so a gated fence around the complex would be important.

TEST

The team reviewed the prototype and what changes we wanted to make. The Alumni then created a larger and more intricate prototype for our presentation.

SHARE

We were then invited to share at the Be Health Forum. We shared our new prototype.

SUMMARY

Through this process, we learned that it was helpful to come out with a systematic plan to accomplish the goals of this Tiny Home Community. We are hoping that others understand that San Diego has to become innovative when thinking of housing solutions, especially with vulnerable populations like those involved in Child Welfare Services.

CONTACT

Interested in learning more about this project? Contact Angela Rowe to learn more via email: arowe@vistahill.org

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