Are Tiny Houses the Solution to the Homeless Problem in Dallas?

DALLAS -- Tiny houses are all the rage these days in the hipster crowd, but it turns out they might also be a way to fight homelessness.

Thursday in Dallas, the nonprofit CitySquare unveiled a new program, providing 50 brand new cottages that'll be home to some of the most vulnerable homeless folks in Dallas County.

"After seven years of hard work, we're now at the finish line," said CitySquare CEO Larry James.  "By the end of October, it'll be fully functioning."

The new residents will have a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and most importantly, air conditioning.

Plus, they won't have to live under a bridge, and worry about all their stuff being bulldozed.

"There are gonna be people who are not gonna be homeless anymore, because of so many people's work," said Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings.

But it's not just a good deal for the people moving in. As Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins pointed out during the presentations portion of Thursday's event, in addition to being the right thing to do, "This program actually saves you money.  Those folks cost, on average, $40,000 a year."

"When they're taken to jail, that's a county expense," Jenkins told NewsFix. "When they're taken to Parkland, that's a county expense.  It comes out of your pocket as a taxpayer."

Meanwhile, James says his organization can take care of those folks for a fraction of that.

"In this development, we'll be able to provide all our services for way less than $15,000 a year," said James.

Those services include help with mental health and job training.  The goal is to get the first round of folks into homes of their own and bring in a new group to help.

So, if this program will help people and save taxpayer money, why isn't this being done more?? Well, for starters, the project cost over $6 million to build.

"The problem is, the city doesn't have enough money," said Mayor Mike.  "If every church in town just picked up one homeless person, in one home, we wouldn't have a homeless problem"

In San Francisco, people are trying to turn a decommissioned aircraft carrier into housing for their homeless. But back here in the DFW, the new cottages are a big step in the right direction, putting roofs over the heads of 50 Dallasites.