Tiny House Eco Village for the Homeless


Architect Arthur Dyson is working with construction management students at Fresno State to create an unprecedented “Eco-Village” of tiny homes for homeless folks. The homes will be made of recycled materials – pallet flooring and framing, waterproofed cardboard walls, aluminum can roofing – and some donated materials from Lowe’s, according to The Fresno Bee.


The green community would have several tiny homes amidst fruit trees and landscaping, while a main building would house kitchen and bathroom facilities, as well as shops for residents to sell things they’ve made or grown.

The first homes are under construction, as pictured, and will be as small as 80 square feet. But they don’t have a plot selected for the Eco-Village and will need one soon.

Fresno State contributed $20,000 to the effort, and Gregory Barfield, the city’s point man in preventing homelessness, is ready to help Dyson and company find an adequate site for the community.

If successful, it seems like Dyson’s Eco-Village could provide a model for future communities elsewhere. Students get valuable experience in sustainability and construction, while landfill material gets reused and folks in need get a cozy shelter from the elements.





[+] Learn more about these Eco-Villages from The Fresno Bee.

Media credit: Darrell Wong/The Fresno Bee.

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  • eric

    The village concept is very nice, great looking small scale housing. Will the homeless be gifted these dwellings, for free? Or will they have to earn to purchase and own?

    If the tenant doesn’t have skin the the game, if the shelter and community are a simple handout, or temporary dwellings with no ownership, then this will not work. Look for abuse and deterioration of anything given for free. Require owners to earn, purchase and invest in their tiny home and pride of ownership will exist, the community will thrive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Janzen/100000415792402 Michael Janzen

    If they alternate the pallets they can avoid the horizontal seam along the walls and make the buildings stronger.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000467174052 David Reed

      Great advice Michael!!

  • http://www.B-green-scene.com Sherbeam

    This looks like a great, workable option. I do agree with Eric that each beneficiary should have to make some investment in exchange – even if it’s upkeep or some other work opportunity.

  • Roofme632

    I like to see the floor plans for this in the south dallas area there are alot ofhomeless that wont go to the shelters because they dnt feel safe

    • Asilvestri

      I’m coming very late to this party….sorry. You all must be unaware that many of the homeless are mentally ill and without proper medication and monitoring of this medication many will not ” feel safe anywhere” or ever be able to funtion in a normal society. Unless these are to be temporary private shelters for healthy people who are “just down on their luck” this concept won”t work

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bruce-Miller/100000952005408 Bruce Miller

    Realistic to a point, but: Why doesn’t modern society accommodate all people? Why must we have the corporitistically disenfranchised? Why doesn’t Capitalism include a place for everyone? How close are you to disenfranchisement? foreclosure? unemployment? unemployability? Has your job gone off-shore? Your trade obsoleted? Your special skill replaced by a machine? A cheap import from Asia? Are you vulnerable? will a computer replace you soon? Can an off-shore worker do your job for less by satellite?
    We certainly need to accommodate those less fortunates that suffer without housing but remember the bar is constantly being raised and whole levels of people are always being shuffled towards the bottom. Are you one of them? Is there a Socialist based safety net awaiting you? Next time you go to vote keep this in mind!

    • Guest

      Amen, Bruce. I went to school for 9 years, worked as a veterinarian for 8 years, and an illness blew threw $50K in savings, and now I’m homeless and still unable to work. Unfortunately our social security safety net is not structured to help anyone in any sort of timely manner… still waiting after 2 yrs, and might not get it at all.

  • Kbikemom

    I agree that it would be appropriate to have anybody who is going to live in this type of housing contribute in some way to its building and maintenance. For one thing, it may help them learn job skills that would allow them to find a job eventually. It would build confidence and self-esteem in people who are discouraged by unemployment and homelessness. It would bring people together in building community and teamwork. Tent villages of homeless people have created similar “community” this way, and self governance. The first people to build one of these shelters would teach the new comers. Everyone gains skills and experience that way and realize they have potential they never imagined. People gain leadership skills as they teach others. And people gain pride in their accomplishments and their contributions to their community.

    • Asilvestri

      Isn’t that what Habitat for Humanity is all about?

  • Lonny_christine_finley


    • OnetrueScott Schabilon

      Reread the article; kitchens, bathrooms, & common space to be used as a store will be provided in another main building.

    • OnetrueScott Schabilon

      Reread the article; kitchens, bathrooms, & common space to be used as a store will be provided in another main building.

  • Lonny_christine_finley


  • Jack Tafari

    These structures look a lot like what Dignity Village of Portland, OR, has been doing for over a decade now right down to the ethos and the appreciation of recycled materials.

    We weren’t really gifted anything, just realised no one was helping us and decided to help ourselves. So we built our own houses and invited the housed community to come and join us.

    You will find siting for your innovative project difficult — anything new that will work in alleviating homelessness invariably runs up against the brick walls of NIMBYISM and those with vested interests in things remaining the way they are.

    But best of luck with your project!

    Jack Tafari 

  • http://www.facebook.com/harlan.felt Harlan Felt

    Its cute. Kind of like a chic ghetto

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