The Holmesburg Civic Association last week approved construction of Tiny Houses for homeless women, over 55, at 7979 State Road, near an existing men’s shelter on the Riverview care home property.
The city and developer Sanctuary Village need a variance because the property is zoned industrial and due to parking issues and removal of a “heritage” tree.
There are expected to be 28 homes, with 12 in the first phase. The houses are 8 feet by 12 feet, with 4-foot porches. No children will be permitted to live on site. The homes are modeled on Seattle’s Low Income Housing Institute.
The women will be referred from the city Office of Homeless Services, and the city will pay for meals and transportation. The residents will each have a mini refrigerator.
A kitchen, bathroom and washer/dryer will be in a separate building, as officials explained it would be too costly to have plumbing in each home and that those additions would make the homes bigger and more expensive to build.
A case manager will work out of the community building. The site will be gated, and security will be there 24-7, along with cameras. Guests must sign in at the guard station.
A courtyard will feature plants.
In general, residents will be on site one to two years, but it is not mandatory that they leave. Officials said the housing will improve the residents’ physical and mental health and assist them in a job search, a reunion with family and getting any documentation they need.
During the presentation, the civic board announced it supported the plan. Some members expressed concern about the women having to leave the homes in the middle of the night in cold weather to go to another building to use the bathroom.
In a vote of membership after the presentation, there was only one opposed.
In other news, city election commissioner Seth Bluestein discussed important dates about the upcoming election.
The last day to register to vote is Oct. 24. The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot is Nov. 1. Mail-in ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Nov. 8, Election Day. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 8.
Mayor Jim Kenney appointed Bluestein commissioner in February, following Al Schmidt’s departure to become president of the Committee of Seventy. Bluestein, who had been Schmidt’s chief deputy, is the lone Republican on the three-member board.
To request a mail-in ballot, go to vote.phila.gov. Ballots will be mailed the second week in October. ••