Spartanburg Church Construct ‘Tiny Homes’ to Combat Homelessness

Steve Wise, Minister of Missions, and Madison Biggerstaff of First Baptist Church Spartanburg standing on the land where the new ‘Tiny Homes.’ Source: Baptist Press

First Baptist Church (FBC) of Spartanburg, SC is working to combat homelessness by constructing a village of tiny homes.

Inspired by mission initiatives they had seen at other churches and on television, Steve Wise, missions minister at FBC Spartanburg, raised the idea: “Building small, transitional houses could be something our church could do to help one of the various populations that its community ministry serves.”

In a partnership with North Side Development Group, the local Housing Authority of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other partners, FBC Spartanburg hopes to provide transitional housing units struggling females and female led households in particular.

“The percentage of the population that’s female and homeless is growing, while most of the resources seem to be targeted at men,” Wise said. “Let’s see if we can do something about that,” he said, adding: “God cares about everyone.”

The Bridge, a mission outreach house of FBC, has been pulling its resources together for the past 18 months, obtaining design plans and lining up architects, engineers, contractors and donors to execute the project.

Madison Biggerstaff, a member at FBC Spartanburg, is the project’s director. She will work on-site through the United Way of Piedmont, coordinating other community resources.

The village will consist of about 20 tiny housing units spread across roughly an acre of property adjacent to The Bridge. Each house will be a single bedroom between 190 to 230 square feet. A few units will have two bedrooms. The estimated cost per unit will be approximately $30,000.

Wise said, “But the plan is that these houses would be temporary shelter, not permanent housing. The ladies would be in our tiny houses and in a ministry program that will help them repair some of the broken parts of their lives that put them in their particular situation.”

In addition to providing temporary housing, the church will offer additional ministry support services.

“We really believe that’s the number one thing that’s going to be their transformational spark,” he said. “So we’ll have a pretty extensive mentoring program that has Bible study and discipleship elements.”

The goal is that the women will be able to obtain a set of skills while in stable housing that will help them find stable employment and permanent housing solutions.

Construction is projected to begin this summer, pending approval by city zoning and planning officials.

Source: Baptist Press