Students, faculty, staff, alumni and others contributed to the success of this year’s 2nd annual Giving Day campaign, with more than $45,000 raised for the School of Social Work! The contributions, which included a $20,000 matching gift from a donor, will be used to support the Tiny Homes Village project, a School-led initiative in partnership with local nonprofit XDS Inc. and the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health.
The project is believed to be the first of its kind in the world that will provide affordable housing and behavioral-health support services to residents with serious mental illnesses and other health conditions. SSW assistant professor Amy Blank Wilson and Thava Mahadevan, director of operations for the Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, have worked together for years on the concept for the Tiny Homes Village, which is being developed with the Farm at Penny Lane in Chatham County.
The community will include 15 tiny homes that circle a shared space with walking paths and an outdoor pavilion. Each 450-square-foot house will be fully accessible, with a living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. A shared clubhouse will provide facilities for meetings and classes, physical fitness and laundry. In addition to providing housing, the village will offer a host of other amenities and services, including a community garden, where residents can pick freshly grown vegetables.
“I knew from the beginning that Tiny Homes could be a game changer for people with mental illnesses in terms of affordability. But what I have learned is that Tiny Homes are HUGE for people with mental illnesses because these little houses give people hope and provide a sense of belonging, which is priceless” Wilson said.
Thanks to your support, this innovative community is one-step closer to reality!