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Tiny houses for homeless being built in Siloam Springs

by Janelle Jessen | August 31, 2018 at 1:00 a.m.
NWA Democrat-Gazette/JANELLE JESSON Two of the four tiny houses in the Genesis House were open for tours during the reveal in Siloam Springs. The houses are between 400 to 600 square feet and will house families of up to six. They are about 70 percent complete.

SILOAM SPRINGS -- Residents got a chance recently to see inside the four tiny houses being built near the East Kenwood Missionary Baptist Church.

The houses, which range from 400 to 600 square feet, will provide transitional housing for homeless families through Genesis House. The nonprofit organization is a day shelter that provides a place to take showers, do laundry, have a hot meal, use the phone and get referrals to other agencies.

More information about the tiny house project and JumpStart program is available on the Genesis House website, or on the organization’s Facebook page.

The organization has provided limited emergency housing through hotel vouchers in the past. Genesis House has offered a JumpStart program for the past 18 months housing families in rental properties for 90 days.

A fundraising campaign kicked off Saturday to pay operating costs for five years and build four more houses, according to Christina Drake, Genesis House board member.

The organization is selling bricks for $100 that can be inscribed with a sentiment honoring a family or individual or with a Bible verse. Donations can be made at

Families in the JumpStart program work one-on-one with a counselor who helps them set goals and holds them accountable.

"What I try to do is get to know the family," said counselor Lisa Burch. "JumpStart program has allowed me weekly meetings with these folks so I can kind of learn what they value and what's important to them, and so based on that, we set goals for that family."

Goals could be anything from working on finances, setting up a spending plan, arranging for family counseling, working to get a family member his GED or helping kids get school supplies.

"There are just so many things that are involved in this program, but depending on what that family needs, we work on it, and we meet every single week and do intensive casework," Burch said.

Of the 19 families who have been through the program, more than 90 percent have found long-term success, she said.

The program's capacity is 12 families a year, but the program will be able to help 16 families a year once the tiny houses are complete, Drake said.

The tiny houses have been a community project from the beginning, according to Drake.

Drake and Harvey McCone, Genesis House director, honored about 25 businesses, organizations and individuals who have donated financially to the project at an event Saturday. They also thanked an additional 20 businesses, organizations and individuals who have either volunteered or given in-kind services to the project.

The first four houses are about 70 percent complete and are expected to be finished in the next few months, Drake said. Volunteer opportunities will be posted on the East Kenwood Missionary Baptist Church Facebook page, said Pastor Jeremey Wiggington.

NW News on 08/31/2018

Print Headline: Tiny houses for homeless being built in Siloam Springs


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