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Construction begins on eco-friendly tiny homes for the homeless in Syracuse

Project workers hold shovels filled dirt at the ground breaking event, June 6, 2022.
Emma Murphy
Project workers hold shovels filled dirt at the ground breaking event, June 6, 2022.

Dozens of volunteers from National Grid began clearing a vacant on Syracuse's South West Side for the construction of tiny homes. The Syracuse-based organization A Tiny Home for Good is leading the project. They’ve built 27 tiny homes for unhoused people since 2016, but their next 4 tiny homes will have nearly net zero emissions. National Grid’s Alberto Bianchetti says this means including special features in the homes.

"They'll be solar panels on the home that allow them to reduce the usage of electricity, they'll be highly insulated, they'll have energy efficient appliances, and other building materials that will enhance their environment efficiency." Bianchetti said.

A Tiny Home for Good Executive Director Andrew Lunetta said these homes will not only be environmentally sustainable, but also create security in housing. He says the tiny homes give residents a kind of permanence that other shelters cannot.

“We’re building houses that people are going to live in, perhaps, for the rest of their lives, and you can see that in the architecture, the amenities, and the support that we provide for them,” Andrew Lunetta said.

Lunetta says he’s especially excited about these tiny houses because of their location. He thinks the quiet block, the park across the street, and access to retail makes it desirable and convenient. Onondaga County executive Ryan McMahon said this project shows how people and organizations can come together to help the community.

“This is what community development looks like, a community comes together, recognizes that they have challenges, and recognizes that we have opportunity. And that’s what we’re doing here today,”  McMahon said.

Those involved say the tiny homes give people the dignity they deserve. Syracuse-area State Senator Rachel May said these homes address both issues of housing security and climate change, and they do it with compassion.

“We’re not just housing them but valuing them as human beings and including them in the project of making our whole world better.” Senator Rachel May said.

Construction is scheduled to finish by late June 2023.