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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Gainesville Community Development Committee will meet today to discuss a housing concept and how it may benefit the community and its homeless population.

Gainesville City Commissioners Randy Wells and Craig Carter will discuss tiny housing, a social movement promoting homes five to 21 times smaller — and substantially cheaper — than a standard single-family home.

The social movement could tie in with the city’s Achievable Housing project, which aims to provide citizens with affordable and sustainable housing, Carter said Tuesday.

The tiny house concept isn’t new, and the development committee has discussed it before, he said.

But today the committee will look at an ordinance recently passed by the city council of Rockledge, Florida, to allow and regulate tiny houses in their city.

Carter said he hopes to recommend that the City Commission let staff draft an ordinance to allow tiny housing in certain zoning districts or residential neighborhoods.

Tiny houses could help Gainesville address its homeless population and provide residents a cheaper housing alternative, Carter said. However, it’s not a perfect solution to the homeless situation.

“This is a not a cure-all for everything,” Carter said.

Possible drawbacks include clusters of tiny houses developing into American favelas or a negative economic impact on traditional homes if built near residential communities, according to a presentation by the Broad and Cassel law firm.

Nonetheless, it’s a concept Carter and Alachua County Commissioner Robert Hutchinson said they support.

Hutchinson said the tiny houses could allow the city and county to house the homeless and later address mental health issues, drug addictions or other problems they may have.

“Put them in a house first, and then start dealing with their other issues,” Hutchinson said.

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Contact Hunter Williamson at hwilliamson@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @hunterewilliam.

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