Housing First Fredericton looking for city land to build very small homes

A group trying to end homelessness in Fredericton is asking the city for land to put up eight small homes, called compact rowhouses and meant to help people transition out of the shelter system.

Group has the money it needs to build the rowhouses but needs somewhere to put them

These are samples of what the rowhouses would look like when they're built this spring. (Mayor's Task Force Report)

A group trying to end homelessness in Fredericton is asking the city for land to put up eight small homes, called compact rowhouses and meant to help people transition out of the shelter system.

Housing First has raised almost $1 million and it hopes to raise $1.4 million so it can build 40 rowhouses over three years.

Now it's in search of somewhere to build them.

"We need to find some dirt to put these houses on," said Jason LeJeune, capital campaign chair of the Fredericton Housing First fund.

"We need to get the non-profits come forward to own them, and we need some landowners to come forward with some land in kind."

The hope is to build eight of the homes this year to see how the current design works. 

The proposed compact rowhouses would be bigger than micro-homes, which are only about 100 to 400 square feet.

A rowhouse would be about 430 square feet and include a bedroom, living room-kitchen and bathroom. The rowhouses in Fredericton would also be accessible, with enough turning space for someone in a wheelchair.

Jason LeJeune made the request for land from the city at council-in-committee on Monday night. (Philip Drost/CBC)

"We've got a model to build on, but we want to get eight of them out in the community and have people living in them to make sure they're the right model for the residents who are going to be living in them," said LeJeune.

LaJeune made the request at the city's council-in-committee meeting on Monday night. He feels that once they start building, the idea will gain momentum. 

"We've got to put a couple developments out there and prove to the non-profit sector, the community at large, and the funders that we were all right, the model works," said LeJeune. 

"We're not inventing something in Fredericton. We're adopting a housing first strategy which exists throughout Canada and North America."

Mayor Mike O'Brien said city staff would take a look at land that could go to the project and then come back to council with possibilities. O'Brien expects to have at report on April 3.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story described the proposed homes as micro-homes. In fact, they are compact rowhouses, which are not as small as micro-homes.
    Mar 20, 2018 11:17 AM AT

About the Author

Philip Drost

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.