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Summit to focus on tiny home designs to combat homelessness

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CHICAGO — Experts from six cities will be in Chicago April 18-19, 2016 for a Tiny Home Summit to address the housing crisis in Chicago, particularly focused on new, creative solutions for youth experiencing homelessness. These solutions could easily apply to the general affordable housing crisis in Chicago.

Pride Action Tank and Polk Bros. Foundation will host the Tiny Home Summit at the University of Illinois-Chicago, 750 S. Halsted, Monday, April 18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Tuesday, April 19, 9 a.m.-noon. The schedule is here: .

A wide range of experts from local and national organizations will address the summit, including speakers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Chicago Housing Authority, the Chicago Department of Urban Design and Planning, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, the Cook County Land Bank, the Metropolitan Planning Council, ONE Northside, the Housing Authority of Cook County, the Illinois Housing Development Authority, CSH, All Chicago, Enterprise, Teen Living Programs, Unity Parenting, The Night Ministry, Heartland Alliance and Bootstrap Villages.

Debbie Reznick and Deborah Bennett of Polk Bros. Foundation and Bradford White of Alphawood Foundation will discuss foundation support for housing in Chicago.

The concept of using tiny or micro housing to help solve homeless issues is not new. Several U.S. cities have implemented tiny housing solutions, others are in the planning phase. Six cities will be represented during the Monday morning portion of the summit: Alan Graham, Mobile Loaves & Fishes, Austin; Reverend jeff carr, Infinity Fellowship, Nashville; Teri Hammer, Tiny Houses Greensboro, NC; Stephanie Reyes, Gay and Lesbian Community Center, Memphis; Architect Brent A. Brown, AIA and John P. Greenan, Central Dallas Community Development Corporation, Dallas; and Melinda G. Nichols, Low Income Housing Institute, Seattle.

There will be a display of a non-working model of the winning design of the recent Tiny Home Design Competition, hosted by the American Institute of Architects—Chicago, Pride Action Tank, Alphawood Foundation, Landon Bone Baker Architects, and Windy City Times.

Monday, April 18 at 5 p.m., there will be a tour of the model, built by Price Construction, and displayed next door to the summit. A Tuesday morning panel, led by Catherine Baker of Landon, Bone, Baker, and moderated by journalist Ley Bey, will feature the three architects who won the competition: Lon Stousland, Terry Howell, and Marty Sandberg.

The design concepts of the winner, runners-up and honorable mentions from the competition will also be on display at the summit, as coordinated by AIA-Chicago.

More than 20,000 youth experience homelessness in the city of Chicago each year, in addition to tens of thousands of adults living on the streets or temporary housing. More than 50,000 people are on wait lists for subsidized housing in the city. The tiny homes movement can offer creative solutions for dignified housing that comes with services and resources for those seeking a path to independent living.

"We are excited to bring together experts from across the country to discuss the tiny home movement," said Debbie Reznick, Senior Program Officer with Polk Bros. Foundation. "There is no single solution that will end homelessness in Chicago, but we can learn from innovative projects in other cities, and adapt these to what will work for Chicago."

The Pride Action Tank, a project of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and the Windy City Times, along with lead sponsor Polk Bros. Foundation, joined by UIC's Gender and Sexuality Center and Alphawood Foundation, are summit hosts. Tracy Baim, publisher of Windy City Times and co-chair of the Pride Action Tank, is chairperson of the summit.

To register for the Tiny Home Summit here: .

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