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A Local Organization is Bringing Awareness to Low-Income Housing with Tiny Homes Summit

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

The Greater Binghamton Tiny Homes Community held a Tiny Homes Summit on Thursday at Binghamton Universities Downtown Center.

According to Josephine Burrell, statistics from the City of Binghamton state that more than half of the residents in the city are considered working poor, meaning that the total income coming into the home is less than $30,000 a year.

Burrell says, “We have people who are not working and getting help from the government and then people working 2-3 jobs that can't make ends meet so we feel like we can do better than that”.

Burrell says it all started 2 years ago when she was with the anti-poverty program trying to figure out what barriers were keeping low-income people back, and one of the main ideas they discovered was affordable housing.

After doing research Burrell reached out to Reverend Faith Fowler who was at the forefront of the national 'Tiny Homes Movement'.

 

Fowler came up with a program that helped low-income residents like the homeless, or elderly, and even young adults in Detroit, Michigan own their very own homes in 7 years.

Fowler said, “We’ve set up a program where they pay minimal rent, work with a financial coach, homeowner classes and volunteer for 8 hours a month and if they can do all four things the home will be theirs after 7 years”.

So far Fowlers organization Cass Community Social Services has built over 20 tiny homes.

“People have enough money to get by but not enough to get ahead and any time they face a crisis it spirals them back into poverty and desperation so if you can give them an opportunity to have a home, which serves as a piggy bank for most of us in this country, it's where we save and invest, you can change their life and the lives of their family forever”, said Fowler.

Now Burrell is trying to bring a program that mimics Fowler's, by bringing affordable housing and economic mobility for low-income individuals to Binghamton.

"We plan to train low income and unemployed people to build these houses at BOCES, getting paid during job training and start them off at $15 an hour,” says Burrell.

Fowler's tiny homes normally run from 250-400 square feet, Burrell says they are planning on building tiny homes roughly 700-1000 square feet while keeping a set-income of $500-$700 per month.

“Today was educating the community now we’re going to start fundraising”, said Burrell.