Tiny homes coming to Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood as affordable housing solution

KALAMAZOO, MI — The first phase of the Tiny Houses of HOPE project will break ground in Kalamazoo on Thursday, Oct. 8.

The first phase will focus on Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood adding six tiny homes and a center for wrap-around services for the nonprofit Helping Other People Exceed (HOPE) thru Navigation.

The $500,000 project has been years in the making as HOPE Thru Navigation founder Gwendolyn Hooker was adamant about creating an affordable housing solution for the population her nonprofit serves.

Related: Affordable tiny home neighborhood planned in Kalamazoo

The tiny homes will be available for those who have been incarcerated, have at least one year of sobriety under their belt and are currently employed. Hooker said she already has 200 candidates in Kalamazoo who fit this description.

Through her work at HOPE thru Navigation, Hooker said she was continually seeing clients couch surfing because they were turned away from

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Shannon Arnold, a developer for the firm Kara Casa, plans to turn six acres at 439 Mansfield Cardinal Road into a “pocket neighborhood.” The area would hold 48 houses, divided into a series of community pods that open into communal parks, gardens and lawns. The cottage-style homes, ranging from 800 to 1,200 square feet, would include porches and an enclosed parking space.

The houses will sell at around $185,000, Arnold told the Kennedale City Council, offering empty-nesters and people looking to downsize an affordable housing option more personable than an apartment complex.

“They don’t encourage the community, even though they set out to do that,” Arnold said, referring to apartments. “The end result is it’s not for everybody.”

For comparison, the median home price in Tarrant County was

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