These are not hypothetical. At any time, in the St Louis metropolitan area there are thousands of homeless and displaced individuals, and those lacking permant housing. Many of these individuals can find themselves wondering where they will sleep next. There are stereotypes about the homeless that are pervasive; most are wrong, or at best incomplete. We CAN make a difference in their lives.
North Grand Neighborhood Services (NGNS), a 501(c)(3), in collaboration with the Rockwood School District and Social Justice 4 All (SJ4A), also a 501(c)(3), have taken a small step in providing housing for the homeless and those in need. Individuals who will make these houses their homes will no longer have to sleep in a shelter. It has been long accepted that the first step in alleviating homelessness is to have stability, and that translates to residential security. A sense of self-worth begins to build, and everyone starts to understand that they are loved, that they are not alone, and that their future holds promise.
Our project will result in 3 tiny houses for the homeless or those in need.
Students from Rockwood’s Eureka and Summit High Schools built the first 2 houses. They used a national curriculum, Geometry in Construction that combined in class geometry and physical construction to build the houses. In addition, students learned much about individuals less fortunate and knew that the houses they were constructing were part of a social justice effort to help reduce chronic homelessness in our St. Louis area. The houses were then moved to their permanent location at 3633 N. Market Street in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood in North St. Louis. Today, both houses are occupied by formerly homeless individuals. All of this could not have been completed without the generous support of many local businesses and organizations. They donated funds, building materials and interior fixtures, to create small but very livable dwellings that are adding to the density and stability of the neighborhood. Each house has a full kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room.
NGNS owns, maintains, and manages the houses.
Because NGNS is a small organization there are not enough resources to do the fundraising for this project. SJ4A is helping them in this effort and you can, too.
Building these first homes in a neighborhood that has a positive track record of inclusiveness is definitely the right place to start. RIGHT NOW is definitely the RIGHT TIME!
Money is needed to complete the construction on the 3rd house. Tiny houses are cost-effective and are being used in other cities to address the issues of homelessness. Together, all of us can make a difference in the lives of those who face this trauma.
COVID-19 interrupted the building process and additional funds needed to be raised. At this time, the third house framing has been completed. Volunteers from North Grand Neighborhood Services (which includes high school students) are ready to complete the construction.
Low cost and sustainable housing.
Building on a model that works in other parts of the country.
Community collaboration and involvement at the grass roots level.
A small but real step to provide homes for those in need.
High school students learn construction skills and the meaning of social justice.
Click here to view a slide show on the Social Justice 4 All website. You are most welcome to join in this effort. It will change lives.
North Grand Neighborhood Services
Social Justice 4 All (SJ4A)
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- JAMES O'Loughlin
- Michelle Salois
- Christine Wyrick