MACON, Ga. — Tiny houses are growing more popular nationwide, but one Macon group sees them as more than a trend. River Edge Behavioral Healthcare sees them as a solution to homelessness in Macon, and more are on the way.
The skillet sizzles and utensils clatter as Charles Middleton cooks his fried chicken lunch. This house is pretty new to him.
"Comfortable here, and I love my little house," he said.
When he says 'little,' he means it. It's a tiny house.
"But just big enough for Charles," he said, as he flipped his chicken.
Middleton moved in about a year ago. His house is part of a development on Maynard Street. River Edge Behavioral Healthcare built it a few years ago as a way to fight homelessness. It took off.
"Community accepted them, and the homeless community affected them as well," said Cass Hatcher, River Edge's interim CEO.
The houses come fully loaded. Furniture, appliances and even pictures on the wall are included. Just around the corner from Middleton's home, another plot of land on Norris Street is about to become another set of tiny houses. They'll call it 'Tiny Cottages of Macon.'
"We're gonna build 10 more here on the site. They'll be much bigger than the ones we built on Maynard Street. There's going to be 10 tiny houses, 570 square feet," Hatcher said.
The new ones will cater mainly to homeless people with disabilities.
"Part of River Edge's permanent supportive housing program. We're looking to expand here in Macon to help Macon with the homeless population," Hatcher said.
They're using about $900,000 in grants from Macon-Bibb Economic Development to pay for the new houses. Thanks to other grant money, rent is cheap and sometimes free.
"If the client has no income, then the grant helps to pay some of the operations and upkeep of the property. If the client has income, through SSI, SSDI, 30% of their income goes toward their rent," Hatcher said.
Hatcher hopes it all leads to more permanent housing solutions in Macon, and for Middleton, 'permanent' is the goal.
If you want to live in one of the new houses, you'll have to go through the Economic Opportunity Council. You can call them for more information at (478) 738-3240.