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Jackson city council approves $3 million to go toward housing solution for homeless

Tiny House lot
Renderings of the plan Jackson Resource Center has to shelter homeless people in tiny houses

Leaders in Jackson are working to address an increasing homeless population in the capital city.

In a 4-3 vote, the Jackson City Council on Tuesday elected to move forward with an initiative to have 60 tiny homes built at a site on a nearly 20-acre site on Capers Avenue. The narrowly passed measure also allocates nearly $3 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Jackson Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that serves to help the homeless.

A study from Jackson State University in 2023 found that over 650 homeless people were residing in Mississippi’s capital city, and that number has reportedly continued to rise, raising an increased demand to work toward finding housing solutions for individuals living in the elements.

Though there are shelters in the area that provide housing for the homeless, the overwhelming majority are short-term solutions that oftentimes have rules and regulations in place that dissuade some homeless individuals from wanting to pay a visit.

Jackson Resource Center CEO Putalamus White is hopeful that the lot of tiny homes, which is set to include communal facilities for all occupants to use, will give future residents a better ability to transition into permanent housing. The first home is expected to be available sometime this spring

According to a report from WAPT, inmates housed in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections will be tasked with constructing the tiny homes, which will provide enough space for one person and a pet. Electricity, running water, a restroom, and sleeping space will be featured. Lodging will come with one stipulation — that occupants find employment and pay 30 percent of their income in rent.

While the proposal has been given the stamp of approval to move forward, it was met with criticism from locals and elected officials. Some residing in a nearby vicinity of where the tiny homes will be placed have raised concerns that their property value will decrease. Leaders, such as Councilman Vernon Hartley, who represents the district in which Capers Avenue is located, argued that the money would have been better spent assisting the elderly with home repairs or fixing dilapidated buildings.

The first tiny home for the lot is expected to be built sometime this spring.

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