The Tiny Homes Village is expected to receive inspections and a certificate of occupancy from city zoning and building officials on Dec. 9, although the first group of homeless residents won’t move in until late December, project manager Bernadette Miera said Monday.
Originally expected to open in October, the COVID pandemic caused construction supply-line delays that pushed back the opening date for the village and its 30 tiny homes, she said.
In addition, there is a multi-level vetting process for the residents, who must be phased in gradually, “and that takes time,” Miera said.
“This is not a shelter. It’s not like we’re going to throw open the doors and say ‘come on in,’ and we’ll take the first 30 people,” she said.
The first core group of residents will consist of 5-7 people. Over the following months, more individuals will take up residency until all 30 tiny homes are occupied, Miera said.
The Tiny Homes Village is temporary housing where residents can stay for up to two years while they learn skills to help them find employment, become independent and financially stable enough to afford their own housing, Miera said.
While at the village, male and female residents, as well as couples, must conform to a list of criteria: They must be 18 years of age or older and currently unhoused; clean and sober for at least 30 days, and willing to continue working on any addictions they might have; become willing members of the village, and participate in events, programs, classes, meetings, maintenance chores and the running of the village; and agree to work with resource managers and an occupational therapy team.
The village is not designed or equipped to accommodate people with severe mental or physical health issues or needs, Miera said. And people who test positive for COVID-19 or hepatitis C cannot be admitted until their conditions are treated.
Full disclosure of a person’s criminal background is required. People who are registered sex offenders or who were found guilty of sex crimes cannot be residents, while people with other felony convictions may be admitted after review on a case-by-case basis, she said.
Firearms and other lethal weapons will not be allowed in the Tiny Homes Village.
The Tiny Homes Village is located on the site of the Albuquerque Indian Center, 105 Texas SE, which will oversee the day-to-day operations of the village.
Most of the referrals to the Tiny Home Village are coming from operators of homeless shelters or programs that provide services to the homeless, though people from the community at large can also make recommendations by submitting a letter to the Albuquerque Indian Center’s resource manager, Miera said.
Prospective residents must fill out an application that is reviewed by a team that consists of a Tiny Homes Village staff resource manager, an occupational therapist and representatives from the Albuquerque Indian Center. Later, after a Village Council is assembled, three members from that body will be included in the final vetting process, Miera said.
Each of the 120-square-foot tiny homes will be wired for electricity, and have electric heating and cooling, a queen-size bed, shelves, a desk and a chair. All homes will be attached to a sprinkler system, as required by fire and building codes, but otherwise will not have running water.
Residents will use communal buildings that contain toilets, showers, kitchen and pantry space, and laundry appliances.