On May 4th, the Madison Common Council approved Madison’s second Tiny House village. When finished, the village will house about two dozen unhoused people on a piece of property on Madison’s north side.
The project is the work of community organization Occupy Madison, a nonprofit focused on providing homes for Madison’s houseless population. The group built its first set of tiny homes and opened its first village on the east side in 2014.
At their May 4th meeting, the council unanimously approved Occupy Madison’s second tiny house village on Madison’s north side, on a piece of property on Aberg Avenue formerly home to Wiggies’ Bar.
Occupy Madison purchased the land last fall, and obtained permission from the Council to build temporary structures to help some unhoused people get through a harsh winter.
The Council approved a permanent rezoning for more permanent tiny houses. That rezoning means Occupy Madison is no longer under threat of losing permission to have their housing community at the Aberg Avenue location.
Brenda Konkel is a former alder and co-president of Occupy Madison. She said she’s hopeful for what more permanent construction will bring to this and future tiny home developments.
“This new zoning is really exciting for us…this really allows us to move forward with all of our plans and to really make this a permanent home for a lot of the people that live there. So, people are really excited, it feels like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders because we know the zoning can’t be taken away at this point,” Konkel said.
The temporary huts that occupied the property last winter will move to a new location as 22 more permanent tiny homes begin construction. Landscaping and other necessary work to prepare the site is set to begin this summer.
Kim Fruin is a resident of the current tiny home village on Aberg Avenue. She said that having a place in the village has helped her improve herself and her circumstances.
“Occupy Madison gave me an opportunity to help other people like myself, in need. That was something that was a confidence builder for me that gave me a sense of purpose and community, and a sense of drive to want to be better and do better,” Fruin said.
Syed Abbas, the alder for District 3 containing the rezoned property said that widespread community support for this project shows potential for similar projects in the future.
“I was very pleased with this project, the community at large was really in support, they welcomed the neighbors and they welcomed the project. I can see that happening in other parts of the district too, but also I really want to see tiny homes in other parts of the city: it should be in every district, it should be everywhere, wherever we can accommodate and fit,” Abbas said.