ST. LOUIS — A collection of 50 “tiny” homes will begin sheltering some of St. Louis’ homeless population as soon as next month, Mayor Lyda Krewson announced Tuesday.
The city plans a 29-month lease of property for the new community at 900 N. Jefferson Avenue on the edge of Downtown West, the site of the former St. Louis RV Park. There the rows of colorful, simple homes ranging from 80 to 96 square feet will serve as transitional housing for residents for about four to five months while case workers try to find them permanent shelter.
“Tiny houses are a lot safer, more secure and comfortable than living in a tent,” Krewson said during a news conference, adding that the homes will create a “stronger foundation” for homeless people to rebuild their lives.
The mayor will request $600,000 to fund the construction of the homes and the first year of the land lease from the approximately $35 million in federal coronavirus relief funding St. Louis received this spring to address the impact of COVID-19.
“Folks are much more vulnerable to COVID if they’re living on the street, if they are living in a group setting,” Krewson said. “So this is assistance to prevent COVID transmission.”
Krewson’s chief of staff, Steve Conway, said the city is also concerned that there may be an increase in the homeless population caused by the economic fallout from the pandemic.