Coun. Bob Bell on Thursday unveiled to the public and the media a tiny home concept made from a broken shipping container located at his bike trailer business on Stevenson St. South.
“As a city councillor, I am seeing a problem of crisis proportion — with the opioids stuff — there are people on the street everywhere,” the Ward 1 councillor told event goers, Guelph Today reported.
Constituents want the issue of homelessness solved but don’t know how to solve it, Bell explained, saying simply in a press release that “the homeless need housing”.
Those that are homeless often traverse the urban environment with a trailer containing everything they own, and sleeping on the street, in tents or under shelters such as bridges.
However, this way of life is “precarious”, Bell went on in the Wike statement. Bell’s values of “sustainability and reuse” led him to retrofit an old shipping container on his business’s property.
The idea grew to develop into a new product called “The Tiny Town”, described in Wike’s statement as a “small collection of container homes for the homeless that have heating, a bathroom, bed, and kitchen”.
It can provide “shelter, community, and security at a low cost,” it adds, improving the quality of life for those who face social barriers such as substance users.
Bell estimated on Thursday that 10 units can be built on a single foundation at a cost of about $500,000, or $50,000 each, according to reports from Guelph Today and the Mercury.
The idea got a lot of praise from local politicians and residents alike.
MP Lloyd Longfield hailed it as an “innovative solution to bridge people from homelessness, to mental health and addictions support, on their way to housing, using
Mayor Cam Guthrie, who has long-championed the idea of tiny homes, said at the open house that “as a city we should just stop talking about these kinds of ideas and actually start implementing them.”
Couns. Mike Salisbury, Dominique O’Rourke and Mark MacKinnon all expressed their support in person at Wike and on social media.
“‘A’ solution, not ‘the’ solution, to homelessness, poverty, addiction, and community,” Coun. MacKinnon wrote on Twitter.