UTAH (ABC4) – Born out of The Other Side Academy, The Other Side Village is proposing to provide over 400 tiny homes for people in need. But, even more than that — it’s a community.
“We want to get the American dream back on the table for folks right now are on the streets, chronically homeless, in resource centers, and in encampments,” said Maurice “Moe” Egan, the Director of Neighbor Recruitment.
He says that The Other Side Village is focused on self-reliance, access to social services and helping people get back on their feet. The homes are planned to be four hundred square feet and will have one bedroom, one bathroom and a kitchen with appliances. They will also feature amenities like a garden, cafe, deli and performance center.
“It’s an opportunity for our folks that live there, our villagers, our neighbors to get back to work in those social enterprises and feel proud,” Egan said.
Currently, they are looking at land near Indiana Avenue. Egan, who has personally experienced homelessness, says he has been hearing feedback from the homeless community and the response has been positive. Joseph Grenny, the Chairman of the Board, says the project has been met with an outpouring of support.
“We have a dozen or so architects that are offering architectural services, we have builders that have volunteered to pay for and build homes, we’ve got people with tremendous experience in the construction world that are full-time on the project now helping us to design and execute on it,” Grenny said. “And all because they believe this needs to exist and will work and will change lives. people in the construction world, all because they believe they need this exists and will change lives.”
He says one family has even worked together to raise money for the “Charlie House” — a small home in honor of their grandchild who passed away.
Students of The Other Side Academy donated the first fifty thousand dollars for the village. Grenny says the model that made The Other Side Academy successful and self-sufficient will also work for The Other Side Village.
Within the next few weeks, the Salt Lake City Council will be voting on the zoning amendment for the property and the Utah State Legislature will be debating an appropriation bill.
“It will work because it’s a community, not just because these are tiny homes,” Grenny said.
At the Salt Lake City planning meeting last year where commissioners recommended the rezoning of that area of land, many people spoke in support of the Tiny Home Village. But, a number of people said they were worried about a current lack of infrastructure and whether the land could be used in other ways.