Tiny homes in N.O. East for homeless face opposition

The homeless village would go in the heart of a residential neighborhood. The people who already live here say they're worried about safety and property values.

There's talk of building a community of tiny, one-room homes where some from the New Orleans homeless community could live. The village would go on a now empty lot in New Orleans East. The problem is that the lot is in the center of a neighborhood and current residents are concerned about safety and property values.

Marynell Fernandez has lived in the neighborhood for decades. It's where she's raised her kids, grandkids and great grand kids. She's upset to hear about the proposal, which would allow 20-25 homeless people to live in the lot down the street.

"We have kids, we have four schools in this area," Fernandez said. "Kids walking to school, we don't know who these people are."

Haiyan Khan is the man behind the idea. He wants to transform the lot into what he calls a "jungle oasis." He envisions around two dozen one-room homes for those currently without homes as well as a community garden, bee hives and chickens. The application process to live there would be highly selective.

"A committee that involves some of the neighbors, ourselves, the past residents and together make a decision about who would come in," Khan said.

Residents feel they're being taken advantage of.

"Let them go to Lakeview and try to put this in," resident Matthew Short said. "They'll stop them right at the gate."

Khan understands the frustration but says he hopes he can work together with the residents to come to an agreement.

There will be a public meeting about the proposal Saturday, November 4 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in the World Church. 7531-B Chef Menteur Highway.

More information about the project can be found here: https://santoshavillage.org/

© 2017 WWL-TV


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