Are tiny homes a solution for homelessness? St. Thomas now investigating the idea to combat near zero vacancy rates.

One St. Thomas city councillor believes tiny homes could be a key to easing the growing homelessness problem in the Railway City.

Linda Stevenson tells CTV News tiny homes could be used as a temporary or even permanent solution to provide shelter for those on the streets battling mental health and monetary barriers to housing.

St. Thomas, like many communities across North America, is trying out-of-the-box ways to battle near zero vacancy rates.

Stevenson believes tiny homes could work.

Already, many cities have used tiny homes to shelter the homeless, vulnerable women and veterans.

They are often placed on public land in almost a village or camp set-up.

Amenities in tiny homes can be endless, and can include washrooms and kitchens.

However, most used to combat homelessness in other communities often only contain a bed and desk and a washing sink.

Communal washroom facilities are provide in other nearby buildings

Although, Seattle is one city that’s created tiny home villages to help ease the stress on shelters.

One concern for St. Thomas is a heat source. The tiny homes would need to be winterized and offer warmth.

St. Thomas Mayor Joe Preston is onboard with investigating the idea, saying the community needs a “right-now” approach to dealing with low vacancies.

The city is currently building affordable housing downtown, but with a long waitlist, Preston and Stevenson says other options must be explored quickly.

Staff has been asked to file a report.