A Delaware church’s plan to give tiny houses to the homeless has sparked a backlash among neighbors.
Pastor Aaron Appling of Victory Church West in Dover, Delaware initially came up with a plan to develop a neighborhood of tiny houses for homeless people in the area. The houses would sit in a field the church owns and the church would rent them to the homeless for only a few hundred dollars a month.
“We would be seeing 15 houses here in this open field,” Pastor Aaron said. “A transition to a place that would be similar to what you would have in regular society. Your own place.”
Church leaders told NBC10 that those who ended up living in the tiny houses would have to maintain their home and work to pay their rent money. The tiny house cul-de-sac would be gated and monitored on a 24-hour basis. Any resident who failed to follow the rules would have to move out, according to church leaders.
When news of the church’s plan spread to the surrounding community however, many neighbors opposed it.
“It has really nothing to do with being anti-homeless,” said Thomas Farrington, who lives near the church.
Residents told NBC10 they believe the Appling of Victory Church has been a bad neighbor and has allowed homeless people to sleep in the church at night. Pastor Appling admitted to NBC10 the church allowed the homeless to sleep there even though they’re really not supposed to.
“We feel spiritually obligated to help,” Pastor Appling said.
Neighbors say police are often in the area breaking up fights between the homeless people and that the music and yelling can often get loud. One neighbor told NBC10 he isn’t convinced the church would put quality people in the tiny houses.
“We are not talking about a mother and a couple of children who she lost her job,” Farrington said. “We’re talking about people that are chronically homeless. They can walk, they can talk, and they can carry a collection plate. But they can’t get a job?”
Roughly 100 homeless people seek shelter every night in Dover. In order to build the village, organizers would have to persuade Kent County to make zoning changes.