A Place to Call Home

Andrew Lunetta and A Tiny Home for Good are putting roofs over heads in Syracuse.

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Andrew Lunetta (left) with the first “tiny home” and its occupant, Dolphus Johnson

Volunteering, as a student, at shelters and soup kitchens, Andrew Lunetta ’14 MPA was shocked by housing options facing the poor. The obvious answer was affordable, dignified homes. So he founded the nonprofit A Tiny Home for Good, which, since 2015, has constructed roughly a dozen “tiny homes” in Syracuse for occupants at risk of homelessness.

The houses are built on donated lots by volunteers, at a cost of roughly $32,000 each. They measure 300 square feet, and include a main area for living and sleeping, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Tiny Home manages and rents the houses (on a sliding scale) to tenants recommended by nonprofits and agencies serving the poor, and counsels tenants on health, job-training, and other services.

At first, nearby neighbors resisted the idea. But once a few of the tiny (and charming) houses were finished, that changed. Tenants proved to be responsible, committed neighbors; and the construction projects are models of civic engagement. “Everyone who’s a part of this is a strong part of the community,” Lunetta told Syracuse.com.

The future is bright. In April, Syracuse’s home county, Onondaga, granted $235,000 to Lunetta’s organization to fund seven new tiny homes.

This article appeared in the spring 2019 print edition of Maxwell Perspective © Maxwell School of Syracuse University. To request a copy, e-mail dlcooke@maxwell.syr.edu.