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Tiny Homes Village to break ground

Representatives from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and partnering organizations will break ground on the new Tiny Homes Village this Friday (Nov. 15, 2019) at 2 p.m.

Tiny Homes Village (THV) is designed for veterans and other persons who have persistent and severe mental health illnesses, including PTSD and substance use disorders. The community is located on UNC’s “Farm at Penny Lane” property in northern Chatham County and will feature 15 tiny homes surrounding a clubhouse for classes and other activities.

Thava Mahadevan, Cross Disability Services (XDS) Inc’s founder and CEO
Thava Mahadevan

“Safe and affordable housing supports are fundamental to the recovery of people impacted by mental illness,” explained Thava Mahadevan, THV founder. He added that THV residents will have opportunities to work in several “Farm at Penny Lane” initiatives, which include a garden, a greenhouse, a chicken coop, beehives, a mushroom farm and a center for training therapy dogs. Residents will also have access to clinical treatment options on site.

THV is an innovative approach to mental health care and treatment, noted Amy Blank Wilson, Ph.D., the UNC School of Socal Work professor who serves as co-director of the community project.

Amy Blank Wilson
Amy Blank Wilson

“Our goal is to build these homes in an environment that is designed to foster community participation and health and well-being,” Wilson said, adding that THV would be a model for similar communities.

UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health (part of UNC School of Medicine), UNC School of Social Work and the nonprofit organization Cross Disability Services (XDS Inc.) have led efforts to develop THV over the past few years. Earlier this year, the Oak Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to THV, which will fund infrastructure costs and the construction of three homes on the site. UNC School of Social Work donors have funded the construction of two homes.

With funding in place for infrastructure and five homes, THV still needs funding for the remaining 10 homes and the clubhouse before the project can be completed. Because construction activities can create a stressful environment, THV will not open for new residents until construction is complete.