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Tiny home village for Bozeman’s homeless will soon welcome its first residents

There are five different designs for the tiny houses, which are each up to 300 square feet in size.
Olivia Weitz
Yellowstone Public Radio
There are five different designs for the tiny houses, which are each up to 300 square feet in size.

Growth and rising housing costs have led to more people experiencing homelessness in Bozeman.

Tracy Menuez with the nonprofit Human Resource Development Council says a tiny home development in north Bozeman will soon welcome its first 12 residents. The tiny homes are brightly colored and each is about 200 to 300 square feet in size.

“This is a unit designed by MSU students,” Menuez says “This is the first model unit that was built.”

Plans for the housing first village started in 2017 as a partnership between MSU’s architecture program, the faith community in Bozeman and HRDC. More community partners have been added since then. The goal is to provide housing to Bozeman’s homeless population alongside support, including behavioral health and employment services.

“We have peer support groups; we have an addiction counselor,” Menuez says, describing services available to tiny home residents through the HRDC’s warming center, a seasonal shelter located next door to the new community.

As far as who will live in the tiny homes, Menuez says they are for people in Bozeman who have experienced chronic homelessness.

“We’re also looking at them through the framework of frequent system user engagement," Menuez says, "and that is 'Who are the folks in our community who as a result of not being housed have had the most costs across systems including the healthcare system, the detention system and the homelessness system?'"

Menuez says all 12 units are spoken for. Seven more are planned for the site.

Olivia Weitz covers Bozeman and surrounding communities in Southwest Montana for Yellowstone Public Radio. She has reported for Northwest News Network and Boise State Public Radio and previously worked at a daily print newspaper. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Transom Story Workshop.