Santosha Village – The New Tiny House Community in New Orleans
Have you ever seen the HGTV show Tiny House, Big Living? Many people love shows about people shopping for homes, possibly something that comes from a place of envy but in the end is all in good fun. Well, Tiny House, Big Living is all about dialing back and down-sizing in the name of freedom and self sufficiency. If you're one for the non-conventional options in life, you'll love Santosha.
What is Santosha, you ask? It is the vision of a group New Orleans residents who are fed up with the lack of support for the homeless community. Haiyan Khan, a former software engineer, is the head of the effort to build this transition center. Khan's vision is to host a self-sustaining, tiny house village for people struggling to make the transition back into working and home-owning. This community will include vegetable gardens, farmers market, community kitchen, computer lab, yoga studio and other amenities, all of which can be accessed by the neighboring communities.
Homelessness in large cities has been a problem the the USA and Khan is looking to challenge "conventional thinking" to be able to offer not just temporary shelter, but the aid and guidance that some may need to really get back on their feet. Vicki Judice, a vocal supporter of Santosha and executive director of Harry Thompson Center for the homeless, had this to say about the state of homelessness in NOLA:
Haiyan is doing this because it is an injustice. There is an insufficient number of emergency shelters in New Orleans and few emotional supports.
Many residents of neighboring communities are concerned with the effects that this new, potentially densely populated area may have on their homes. Haiyan Khan has heard complaints regarding property value, criminal activity, and general usefulness/necessity. However, according to reports from other similar sites, property values tend to increase in neighboring homes. Also, Khan emphasized that this is NOT a shelter, but rather a self-help community that focuses on minimizing its impact while building each other up with support. He even offered to draw up a binding contract to give nearby residents a chance to shut down Santosha if problems caused by the tiny house town persist.
Khan has already been supplying a single home to the Harry Thompson Center which has housed 5 people so far.