Alliance Health Invests in Innovative Tiny Home Village

Tiny Home Architect RenderingAlliance Health is making a $100,000 capital investment to build two tiny homes that will provide permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness who are served by the UNC Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACTT).

The homes will be part of the all-inclusive Tiny Homes Village at the Farm at Penny Lane in Pittsboro, NC. The village is a demonstration project aimed at developing a new affordable housing option for people with serious mental illness (SMI) and other health conditions living on a fixed income. The project is part of a public/private partnership between local nonprofit Cross Disability Services, Inc., (XDS Inc.) and the UNC School of Social Work.

The village will include 15 tiny homes ranging in size from 360 to 400 square feet, and is designed to support people’s health, wellness, and connection to the larger community. It will include community amenities that foster activities and interactions among residents, such as a clubhouse, walking trails, and an outdoor pavilion.

People with SMI are often at a high-risk of homelessness because most rely on Supplemental Security Income, but the payments provide significantly less income than the federal poverty level for a single individual. This dilemma creates a housing crisis for people with SMI because the cost of rent for even a modest apartment exceeds their monthly income.

“We are excited about this investment because it diversifies our housing portfolio beyond the typical apartment settings to a true supported living setting,” said Ann Oshel, Alliance SVP, Community Health and Well-Being. “It will be a desirable option for some of our health plan members who find it overwhelming to transition from a small confined space in homelessness to a larger apartment,” she said.

Alliance Health staff will also assist in building the two homes that its investment will fund as part of Alliance CARES, the company’s employee-driven campaign that gives staff an opportunity to address unmet social needs throughout our communities.

“We are incredibly thankful to Alliance Health for this generous grant and support to the tiny home village at the Farm at Penny Lane,” said Thava Mahadevan, Executive Director at XDS Inc. and Director of Operations at the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health. “Alliance saw the vision for this village early on and has a long-standing commitment to creatively and efficiently addressing the housing needs of people with complex needs and we are thrilled to be a partner in this work.”

The tiny home investment is the latest step in Alliance’s effort to build a robust and diverse continuum of housing options to assist members in living, working, and playing in the communities of their choice. Alliance’s housing inventory currently includes the exclusive use of 60 units for its members, secured via partnerships with six affordable housing developers.

Alliance’s growing array of housing solutions also includes:

  • The Hotel to Home bridge housing program in Durham, designed to help members move toward permanent housing and self-sufficiency.
  • The Coming Home partnership, which provides supportive housing to justice-involved people in recovery from mental health or substance use disorders and returning to the community.
  • The Health and Housing Case Management Program, which connects chronically homeless people referred by Duke clinics with housing and supportive services.
  • The Durham Area Supportive Housing (DASH) program, funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides permanent supportive housing to chronically homeless individuals and families.
  • The Independent Living Initiative Program, a short-term assistance program for people receiving services through Alliance who are facing possible eviction or utility disconnection, or who need start-up funds to move into permanent housing following short-term life circumstances.
  • The Community Transitional Recovery Program, a short term community based observation and assessment program emphasizing recovery education and independent living for people with a history of homelessness who are being discharged from inpatient settings.