The Rev. Faith Fowler says tiny houses are like ladders, they can lift families out of generational poverty. Cass Community United Methodist Church is betting that communities of tiny homes will revitalize blighted areas of Detroit.
Home ownership is an American dream. And Cass Community United Methodist Church in Detroit is building dream homes for low income buyers.
D'Angelo: "My name is D'Angelo and this is my tiny home."
The Rev. Faith Fowler, Cass Community United Methodist Church: "D'Angelo's a church member. He spent 40 years in prison. When he got out his parents were dead. His siblings were gone. His house was gone. His neighborhood was gentrified. So the tiny home really did exactly what it was supposed to do."
Tiny houses are a big part of a plan to build a safety net through home ownership.
The Rev. Faith Fowler: "They have to come to homeowner's class where they teach each other how to maintain the house. They have to work with a financial coach, and they have to volunteer eight hours a month in the neighborhood. So, they're making a difference to the whole community and after seven years they'll own it, it's theirs."
In 2016, Cass purchased 26 lots from the city of Detroit and this investment in community is already paying dividends.
The Rev. Faith Fowler: "We used to talk about the American dream, but it's a human dream, to have dignity and autonomy and community."
Cass Community Social Services is an outreach of Cass Community United Methodist Church.
Faith Fowler has written a book called Tiny Homes in a Big City, about the logistics and decisions behind the Cass tiny home project.