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Indianapolis nonprofit building a ‘Tiny Homes Village’ for the homeless

HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – DE-Serves, an Indianapolis based nonprofit organization, is providing shelter and security for the less fortunate at Camp Camby Conference and Retreat.

The Tiny Act of Kindness project is to build 25-30 tiny homes as temporary housing for people who are homeless.

DE-Serves Executive Director Nancy Holland told News 8 Camp Camby is a grassroots facility. The property has a Spin It Again thrift store, a flea market, bathhouse, dining hall and recreation area.

She said each home costs $2,250 to build.

“We’re going to start here at Camp Camby in the next 30-60 days. We are funding these homes one at a time,” Holland said. “I have the funds for the first one right now in my bank account and I have commitments from a few people to fund several more so I’m just hoping to continue to fund them that way. It really depends on that as to when it (the village) will be complete.”

Camp Camby is donating proceeds from Spin It Again to the project.

DE-Serves has submitted a proposal grant to Lilly in hopes to receive $1.3 million next year. Holland mentioned she has a received a letter of support for it from Mayor Joe Hogsett.

There are 1,567 individuals who are homeless in Marion County, according to the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention (CHIP) and Indiana University (IU).

A model of a tiny home is currently at Camp Camby that is 80-square feet. The official homes will be 96-120-square feet and insulated. The model displayed a pull-out couch, small pantry, portable sink, toilet and an air conditioning unit.

DE-Serves says tiny homes have been a success in states across the country including Colorado, Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington and Missouri.

Tiny Act of Kindness has been a passion for Holland after seeing many homeless populations while traveling for work.

“I started boxing up my meals and passing them out to the homeless and talking to them and hearing their stories. Some of them are very similar to my story and they just found themselves in a situation where they didn’t have a home anymore,” Holland said. “Then once you’re homeless it spirals out of control and you don’t know where to go to get the help.”

Holland said she was homeless at 16-years-old as her mother was overwhelmed by the responsibility of having four kids at a young age.

“She no longer had a place for me to live as a senior in high school,” mentioned Holland. The DE-Serves executive believes people have biases about homelessness and added she’s met amazing people while helping serve meals every Tuesday. Some of whom Holland has invited to her home for holiday dinners and now call a friend.

“You do have some that are struggling with addiction, you have some who are dealing with some mental illness, but they’re still wonderful people. You also have people who are down on their luck and they just need a helping hand. I just would ask people to stop and think about that homeless person that they might see and remember that they are a person and they deserve your kindness.”

Click here to learn more about Tiny Act of Kindness Project.