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California to build tiny home community for homeless wildfire victims

Funding for community relies solely on the kindness of donations

When plans for the creation of a tiny home community for the homeless located in Chico, California, were initially unveiled, many city council members voiced their disdain and indifference.

However, in the wake of California’s Camp Fire, a fire which claimed the lives of 85 people and destroyed an estimated 14,000 area homes, sentiment has changed. Now, this tiny home community is set to house Butte County's fire victims, according to an article from NPR.

The fire created a whole new reality, it added an urgency for sure," Chico Housing Action Team volunteer and board member Charles Withuhn said. The current city council has given the project the go-ahead.

According to the article, the tiny home initiative is a nonprofit citizen-led approach, and its funding relies almost entirely though private and corporate donations of money, materials and man power.

Notably, although the community aims accommodate a significant number of Camp Fire victims, housing will still be available to others.

The tiny home village is not solely for Camp Fire homeless. But CHAT organizers say some of the people made homeless by the blaze will get priority slots. "We want to accommodate Cape Fire victims and maybe one third of the buildings will be set aside for them," Withuhn says.

The article makes note that Camp Fire's destruction escalated an ongoing housing crisis around the northern city of Chico. In fact, prior to the historic blaze, about 2,000 homeless people resided in Butte County.

Unfortunately, residents of the county now face rising rent prices, inventory shortages and steep competition. These factors have contributed to an exodus of residents, who are now in search of more affordable housing.

"We just have to look for every kind of opportunity to try to help solve this housing situation," CHAT organizer Leslie Johnson says. "People just can't afford conventional size housing. A lot of people just can't. But a little tiny house, people can afford to rent that."

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