"We have not seen the kind of action that the enormity of the situation demands.... Our churches are bombed and burned, people are shot, the vote denied."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the tradition of the civil rights movement, AHHA has not only challenged us to respond to the unsheltered crisis with actions that match the "enormity of the situation."

With courage, integrity, and hard work, AHHA has created a vision and a path to help move us toward the "beloved community" described by King.
...Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. https://thekingcenter.org/king-philosophy

31 of our vulnerable neighbors died
outside from June 1, 2018 - August 31,  2019.   (Will provide update when becomes available.)
Humboldt County Coroner's Report

The Point-in-Time Count for the "homeless" which is taken on one day is always an undercount.  This year (2019) it was 1473 for Humboldt County (compared to 668 in 2017). https://www.times-standard.com 

In the following presentation AHHA invites the City of Arcata to partner with them.  The invitation extends to all of us.
It's timely because momentum is building to create the life-saving, caring, healing, affordable solutions AHHA has been advancing to fill the shelter gaps.***
As one example, the updated 2019 Humboldt County Housing Element  prioritizes "Tiny House Villages" as an affordable housing solution.


This insightful North Coast Journal article by Freddy Brewster conveys the historical  importance of adopting bold and innovative and affordable solutions (which this site demonstates have been advocated by AHHA such as but not limited to Tiny Home Villages) by not only incorporating them in a housing element but also through a commitment by staff to work with the community to move forward to make them a reality to address our housing crisis.

"With Housing Element Passed, Staff Pushes Forward on Tiny Houses"



  Arcata City Council 12-6-17
     AHHA Presentation
            by Board Members
Affordable Homeless
     Housing Alternatives

Link for video of AHHA presentation                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdjZHecIAbs&feature=youtu.be

Below is transcript with Illustrations.

lustrations not available for Part II  (due to technical difficulties ).

But presentation can be viewed on video.  So, why take time to read transcript?   It provides an opportunity to more deeply understand AHHA'S approach (empowered by a moral vision as a blueprint for very practical affordable shelter solutions (they reveal with nuts-and-bolts details) and which they advance with grit and other qualities that history reveals are essential.)

NOTE:   AHHA members and allies have made passionate speeches when needed to raise awareness of the harsh conditions of people living outside.  

So, don't be fooled by the calm and low-key tone of this presentation on Tiny Home Villages.   It provides an opportunity to better grasp AHHA's solid and ongoing groundwork which has proven to be essential for transformations they  promote to create supportive affordable solutions.

And while it may be disappointing that Arcata has not yet adopted Tiny Home Villages as an option, AHHA consistently persists in the face of indifference or opposition. And they succeed in achieving results that seem impossible. After years of
resistance, Eureka and Humboldt County each  passed Shelter Crisis Resolutions.

AHHA refuses to accept the inhumane living conditions, suffering, and deaths  of our vulnerable neighbors (which at times puts them at odds with those who accept the current homeless crisis as the status quo which even if unfortunate is tolerable).   AHHA never wavers in their dedication to advocate for those in need of shelter and services to meet basic human needs.
"In our current days, Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives (AHHA) has stepped up to fill the void where a social safety net should be. They recently received a grant to build a portable shower facility for the homeless. In an interview for a previous Outpost story, Nezzie Wade, one of the founders of AHHA, said good hygiene is one of the biggest issues faced by people experiencing homelessness. Wilczek wrote a letter of support for AHHA, stating he would consider the library as a regular location for the trailer."  Freddy Brewster/Lost Coast Outpost



Nezzie Wade
President of the board of AHHA

AHHA is here tonight to invite you to enter into a partnership to create a pilot Tiny House Village. in Arcata.

Note:  Invitation extends to all communities seeking affordable, practical, supportive solutions to provide shelter.
The village is
modeled after Opportunity Village in Eugene Oregon. Andrew Heben is the co-founder and urban planner who has successfully pulled that off in Eugene. And it is being implemented across the country in many places.

Tiny House Villages offer a new paradigm for what would be considered Bridge Housing or Emergency Bridge or Interim Housing that is much more economically accessible and also
ecologically sustainable.

                     8-Minute PBS Video on Opportunity Village
(Can be Viewed at Link at Bottom of Page)

In late 2014 we brought Andrew here from Oregon and held a community forum in Eureka at the Women's Club and had 250 participants who were very excited about the idea of Tiny House Villages.  And the sentiment overarching was that something like this should be available throughout Humboldt County.

So our focus has always been on a countywide kind of approach because it's something that's needed in every community to accommodate our lack of affordable housing particularly for people that have few resources...are homeless.

Our vision is that everyone has a human right to a safe legal place to live.  

AHHA's mission is to provide information, education, advocacy and policy development for affordable housing alternatives with* the homeless in Humboldt County. And to facilitate the implementation of these alternative housing models by networking with private groups, nonprofits, public agencies, faith-based organizations, individual volunteers, and by partnering with the cities, county and others to ensure development and capacity building.

       *("With" was strongly emphasized.)

We have been working for several years since we began organizing prior to becoming a nonprofit, finding out who the stakeholders are and working with them across the board.

We have held open community conversations for the past two years at St.Vincent de Paul in Eureka with those who have been experiencing homelessness and the larger community to discuss affordable camps-to-village alternatives, safe parking. And as an integral part of community,  what that might look like and what people would want.

In our conversations we discussed simple community agreements.

You have a packet that is for this presentation tonight. And then there are some sample operations procedures and also the community agreements.  We have gone over basic operating rules. types of dwellings from tents to tiny house designs that are potentially on or off the grid.

And we've had engineers meet with some of the folks that are living outside. And Michael can talk a little bit more about that later.

Those that are living homeless are witness to the effectiveness of village life.  And their wisdom is included in our proposals and our projects because they have taught us the best practices about living in a community.   They know what that's like. They've been living outside rough and in encampments for a long time.

In 2015 September AHHA held a Tiny House Expo. Over 700 people participated. And they came to see the demonstration on how a sanctuary camp can morph into a tiny house village.   We have lots of other options for how people can accommodate themselves when they are homeless in affordable ways.

But here we had also the CCC set up a field kitchen to demonstrate how easy it is to have safe and easy sanitation and food services as well as storage for a large number of people.

Big Turnout for Tiny-Homes

On some formats (pdf) you may have to paste web addresses into your browser

This is a graphic from the Village Collaborative or the sanctuary camp for Andrew Heben's graphics.

You can see that this is what we would consider our phase one of the village because people need to live in place.  So there are tents and clusters as tiny houses would be in clusters with a central facility and food preparation area.  There's porta-potties and dumpsters at the entrance.  Also a gate check-in and check-out,  There's also sanitation hand-washing stations.  This is near a bus stop which is one of the amenities for a site.

AHHA's meme is "safe warm and dry first." It's kind of the Housing First concept.  Our project model facilitates those experiencing homelessness (particularly chronic homelessness) getting into immediate affordable safe camping and village programs.

The emphasis is on building community and getting potential residents into safe healthy conditions where they can begin to stabilize and thrive and recover from the trauma of being homeless...as well as other trauma...and be supported in the highest level of independence possible.

The village would be co-managed between the oversight with the nonprofit and the residents who would be exercising independence in their decision-making. There would be a council that would be the village council that would meet once a week. And residents would be required to participate.

As the tiny houses are developed they will allow each resident the privacy and autonomy that we all need for gathering ourselves together...and a safe place also to keep their belongings.

But the security of having a door and being able to lock it is something that actually allows for people to rest for the duration.

In addition no one would be on site without their being knowledge of that.

Everyone has to be approved and it's important that we maintain the security for the sake of the residents. And it's like any other gated community.

The communal setting and positive social support from peers, and the shared responsibilities for the environment, the community, and the use of common facilities brings people into community life in a way that encourages integration and brings interdependence and a sense of mutuality and trust.  They're responsible. It's their home.  It's their environment.

The goal for AHHA for the village would be to facilitate access to opportunities for as many as possible for all residents whether it's healthcare (medical,  physical,  or mental), social services, skill development, education,  training,  entrepreneurship,  micro businesses,  job placement, or just being part of a healthy, thriving supportive community.

Countywide, I mentioned was our vision.

The village model by design, by its very nature, is a recovery kind of environment that will prevent and mitigate the negative consequences or outcomes of experiencing homelessness for those that have been chronically homeless.

The village, as I said, would be co-managed. And you have an example of the community agreements.  We have a basic set of rules that we have actually vetted or have been informed about from those people who have lived in communities that have been homeless.

So AHHA would be the contractor with the city and for the other services.  While residents would be self-regulating and required to participate in the meetings where any issues that arise would be processed for resolution because self-governance is a core value of the community.

To build a community, we would be working with local contractors and community members.  The village responsibilities would be those of the community members.  And there are many tasks from maintaining the entrance and visitors, to recycling and garbage, security, tool maintenance and so on.

The human scale of this development is really what's the most important thing here because it can be carried out within a local level, our local community level.  And it's kind of a grassroots model for developing low-cost housing without the dependence on government subsidy.  So nobody's asking you for a lot of money.

We're asking you for your support in having a space and working with us to accomplish some of what would be required to get that site prepared and so on.

AHHA encourages everyone to read
Andrew Heben's book if you haven't. It's really very good.  And he's a great author.

The Tiny House Village provides a path for people to get out of homelessness.  And it's intended really as alternatives.  He writes of the tiny house village not only for the original residents who
are people trying to get on a pathway out of homelessness into community.

But it's also for seeking alternatives to conventional housing options because the alternatives can reduce human impact and can increase s focus on building community rather than other options.

See end of web page for how to order Andrew Heben's book.

We have built a few houses.

AHHA Tiny Home - #1
On Display at Expo

Built at Jefferson Community Center
By Community Volunteers
Photo of construction from Jefferson Community Center's Facebook page shared  with  permission.   Other photos submitted shared with permission.

AHHA Tiny Home - #2

On Display at Arts Alive -Eureka

(View Enlarged Image at Top of Site)

Constructed at Blue Ox Millworks
By Community Volunteers

[Note: Can be adapted to other sites/communities]

But this is kind of a view of what the community would look like once established.  This is a graphic again of what a transitional community would be.  So the tents have been replaced by tiny houses in a central facility. That's a yurt.

And the gardens remain.  This is a site map of what would be the parcel in Alder Grove.  The street on this side would be Erickson Way where the arrow comes in.  There's one driveway.  There's a road adjacent or a drive adjacent to this parcel.  

This is the gathering place.  The kitchen.  [Baths.] The recreation area. These would be rest rooms.  A gate and office.

All the clusters of little houses would be the same.  This is a little bit... just a demonstration of all emergency sleeping cabins that are oriented it says there towards south-southwest to capture most of the sunshine on the site.

Now we have visited this site.  And we've been studying it over the winter and we are very aware.  And there will be an overhead
in a minute.  

But through these wet weather days we realize that this site is subject to flooding and the roadway is much higher than the ground. So that there's a lot of water there that would need to be mitigated  prior to being utilized as a project site.

Susan Ornelas (Mayor of Arcata City Council):

Is that one acre?

Nezzie:  About that.

Nezzie:  There's a garden scene here too somewhere.  Yeah and all kinds of projects  could be possible.

So, why does AHHA have the capacity to develop a tiny house village? We've been studying it for a long time. And we have lots of great consultants and people across the country who are eager to help us proceed and lots of local support in terms of volunteers and our board expertise.  

We've also got connections with suppliers and with businesses who would really like to see this proliferate throughout the county.

But Arcata is a perfect place because of the ethics and the values that are core to Arcata being successful in other very innovative projects.

We figure this is a really good opportunity.  

Our board expertise.  We have lots of very talented individuals. A few of whom have varied expertise in lived experience of homelessness in encampments and on the street...extreme poverty.

Commercial property management as well as shelter operations, legal services, program development.  Including employment programs.,
engineering and contracting housing development, and implementation and street outreach,  And each member has an extensive network of resources and support.  We also have experience in building houses.

And we have a lot of service partners that are in place.  Arcata House management is willing to do case management for the village. And we also have connections because of being a member of the Housing and Homeless Coalition for a number of years now.  And also we have DHHS and other services that we would rely on.  So each resident would have a transition plan or a service plan.

And again we would like to call on Arcata, on the council, the city to be a pioneer and our partner in creating a pilot project based on your environmentally innovative values.

And we'll come back to that.

What we need is land and the political will to do that.

Mike Avcollie:
Member of the Board of AHHA

My name is Mike Avcollie. I'm also a board member of the Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives.

I would like to just thank citizens of Arcata, City Council, and staff for being here and letting us present tonight.

I'm just going to jump back to this slide about what is  labeled a detached bedroom or a tiny home.

So, as Nezzie mentioned we have already built a couple of prototype homes in our preparation for taking on a project like this.

AHHA has been in consultation with HSU students and engineering classes up there to work on heating and lighting systems. I'm one of those students and that's how I got involved in this project.

We've also partnered with Engineers Without Borders to develop waste water treatment strategies for this project. One of the things we knew when we were working on this as a student group is that we had to maintain low-cost options for the project. 

This is a rough example of some of the costs. We were able to try to stay under $5,000 for the material costs for one tiny home.

Now part of that is is a simple shell constructed mostly of two-by-fours and plywood.  We put a lot of technology into our thermal solutions to try to keep these buildings warm.  We also came up with some electrical solutions both off-grid and grid connected for the buildings.

Again,  a rough budget for one house...we tried to come under $5000.  And you can just see it extrapolated out for the potential of six or twelve houses.

So design concerns...I'm just going to go back to what we were thinking of when we worked on these plans.  It was to keep the residents of the houses warm, safe, and dry...which was a big challenge. 

We got a chance to interview a lot of people who are living on the streets in Eureka and Arcata.  And one of the things we learned is that these folks reported that they were never dry.  It just was unachievable living on the streets.

When we thought about that, we realized that in these tiny homes, moisture buildup could be a really big problem.  So while we might be able to get them out of the weather and keep bulk moisture off of them, humans are a big source of moisture within a building.  And so we are very concerned about that. 

Quality of the habitation was really important to us. Those were some of our major concerns.

A base design we thought we should have always try to achieve maximal thermal performance, use standard materials that could be found easily, that would maintain our cost.  We also added a layer of value engineering where we thought about alternative materials, natural building, volunteer labor, and other things that could really help us control costs.  Those were again some more of the concerns of some of the design teams.


This is a scale drawing of one of the tiny homes that was built.  It was built out at the Blue Ox facility in Eureka.  You can see that this is just a little bit bigger. The footprint of it is just a little bit bigger than a sheet of plywood (eight feet by 10 feet and under nine feet tall).

Some of the details you'll see.  It was 2x4 framing in the roof in the walls and in the flooring.  But we did think about adding layers of insulation. California Building Code will require R15 for wall insulation.  We did our best to try to provide that level of thermal protection.

We thought a lot about keeping bulk moisture out of the buildings while still letting the internal moisture of the residents wick or breathe out and to be able to communicate out.

So some of the details you'll see here are layering...different vapor barriers and insulation layers.  And again the engineering students were trying to use the best building sciences available to do the most we could with very little resources.  So that was a wall section.

This is a floor section.  Again a very minimal construction.

But you see we thought about six mil plastic on the ground to keep vapor from mitigating up into the buildings. They would be built on pressure-treated skids as a foundation. That's not the best.  But it allows them to be picked up on a forklift and moved and put in place for a village that may be a temporary facility.

A lot of the thought behind these houses are that they are not always going to be the most permanent source of housing.  Our site might not always be a permanent home for these tiny homes.  So they need to be mobile.

Again. Spray foam insulation on the floor acts as a vapor barrier and helps to keep the house warm.

More than keeping them warm, safe, and dry, we had electrical needs.   We knew that these residents need to be charged, lit, and connected.

And again the connected came out of interviews with people who were living on the streets. Their need to stay connected for job interviews...for maintaining their relationships with other people in their community...was largely based on their phone.  Like everyone else, of course, that's not surprising.  But their ability to charge the phone is greatly limited compared to yours and mine.

So that's part of keeping them connected. And there are two ways you could do this.

With a small not even a micro solar.  This is what we would call a Pico solar system.  So the students that worked on this designed around Arcata's solar resource.  They tried to pick an ideal tilt for solar modules that would be installed.  And they had a basic set of loads that they designed around.

Basically keeping a one LED light on and exhaust fan to keep moisture from building up inside the house to maintain air quality and also phone charging capabilities.  And that is a relatively high priced option.

And I think our original budget was around $700 and we realized that may not be available or feasible.

And another way that you can get electrical needs met is if there was an electrical connection at a central facility.

If there was an electrical connection at a central facility theoretically at a much cheaper option...residents could have a 12-volt battery that could be charged at the central facility and then brought back to provide electrical services at the tiny house.  So that was another option and a lower cost option than providing a small solar array.

On some formats (pdf) you may have to paste web addresses into your browser

  Arcata City Council 12-6-17

     AHHA Presentation
            by AHHA Board Members

Continuation of AHHA Board Presentation

Questions by City Council,
Answers by AHHA,
Council Deliberation,
Wise Public Comment,
Council's Closing Remarks.

(No illustations for Part II yet.  Regret not able to insert graphics in
Part II due to some technical and other issues.).

But PART II provides transcriptions (checked against video). Revealing discussions.



For full version click here


On some formats (pdf) you may have to paste web addresses into your browser



What Tiny Home Village in Eugene meant to the people living there.

Paul Pitino (Arcata City Council):

And anybody that takes the opportunity to see the
village in Eugene or like villages can understand how it really works. 

And when you talk to the population that's there.   You say,
"Why are you here?"
   And they say, "Because I'm safe and I've got a place to live."




Eugene made amendments in their zoning to pave way for Opportunity Village for Homeless.

Paul Pitino (Arcata City Council):

Just for a little background.   When Andrew Heben went to do this in Eugene... of course...the building code...the zoning didn't fly just like it doesn't here...

The city changed...made amendments to their zoning and basically permitted this sort of a camping situation.   And so they just codified it.   And you know it's  not terribly complicated.

I mean considering the other stuff that we're looking  at right now, this is pretty small change.

There is a pathway.

David Loya  (
Community Development Director)

Yes there is.  There absolutely is.



Nezzie Wade (AHHA Board President):

So, if the city decided that there was something they really wanted to do for economic development there,  it wouldn't preclude you from being able to do that.

I was always raised with the attitude by my father who was a farmer that as a steward,  you leave things better than when you found them.  So we would want to do something

I know there's concerns.  Like what happens if it doesn't work and you have all this on the site, what do you do?  We would take care of it.  You wouldn't have to worry about there being a problem for the city



Have already found a YIMBY (Yes-In-My Backyard)

Nezzie Wade:

In fact I'll tell you when we had a conversation
with one of the neighbors out there (Alder Grove Site), they
said. "Wow it would be great to have
neighbors because we've had things
stolen from here because there's nobody
who lives here at night. That might be a really good thing."
So that was one of the comments and it works that way actually.

Commitment  to Address Neighbors' Concerns

Edie Jessup
(Former AHHA Board Member):

AHHA is committed to a village security plan that benefits the residents, the neighbors, and the larger community.

NOTE:  Opportunity Village overcame initial community concerns.  As have other villages for the unsheltered.. View how Tiny Home Village in Madison overcame  resistance  and improved neighborhood security/quality-of-life.

     Stories From A Tiny Home Village: Madison - YouTube

AHHA is Dedicated to Partnering
With Elected Officials and Staff
To Work Together to
Satisfy Codes and Zoning
And Other Requirements

Nezzie Wade:  
We're dedicated to working with you.....
your staff...to make adjustments
when are needed....and to satisfy
the building and Zoning codes or
whatever it is that has
to happen and the requirements of the
departments and whatever entities
whoever sees say oversees safe
construction and operations and all that.

Public Comment
You can figure it out if you want to...

Speaker (not identified)

If you really want something to happen,
you can figure out how to make it happen.
And I think that's an attitude that I'm not quite hearing from
the city yet.  But I think that's the
commitment that's needed and it'll work.
It'll happen.  So I'm just supporting that.

2. Pathways out of Homelessness
By Filling Gaps in Current Shelter Options

Based on AHHA's Vision/Mission That We All Need a
"Safe, Legal Place to Live."

Housing Continuum

Nezzie Wade:

We've always thought of our project as a
housing continuum.   So,  it begins here
where we have an ability to get people
just into safe dry places,  a legal camp
for example.   And move that along towards
a tiny house village where the
structures are permanent but it's a
temporary facility.   They can be moved as
Michael said.   And then moving that on
down the line at some point to something
that we really need and remains
affordable like cooperative housing.

Villages are  designed to create "supportive communities"
which can reduce need for other social services.

Nezzie Wade:

But with respect to support...we're talking about creating supportive communities where people really do support one another.

[Nezzie pointed out that research has revealed that the trauma of being homeless is comparable to being in the military.}

View PART II for full version.
(No illustrations yet)

People who have been homeless recognize that same kind of shared experience with each other.   And it's a point for bonding and creating what might be the core of community.

So there's some really good things about all of this.

And we don't have enough case managers for everyone to have a case manager.

But in these environments you can have case management and a very supportive community that has the intention of making sure that everybody  has a plan and is getting the services they need.

Children, Parents, and Grandparents
Are on Our Streets

With Nowhere to Go***

Who's Going to Create Shelter to Fill the Gaps?

As a Community Working Together,
We're the Ones!

Nezzie Wade:

I see people.   I meet with them every day.   My phone gets blown up every day by people that are out there.  
And we are the only thing they have.

And so
I just want to encourage you to remember that these are our neighbors. Over 90% of the people that are out there are from our nine five five zip codes.  There are kids.  There are parents.  There are grandparents. They're people who really need a beloved community.   And we're the ones that are going to create it because that's all there is.

Connie Beck
Director of the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS).

"...we don't provide all housing to all people."

                 [Only those mandated to serve]
Sally Hewitt
Human Services Senior Program Manager (DHHS)

"We have lots and lots of
homeless people on our streets and there
really is nowhere for them to go. "

Full presentation

During the presentation on 1-9-18
At the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors,.....

Connie Beck, Sally Hewitt, and others described the great programs and dedicated staff that work with unsheltered to help transition into housing, but also clearly and bravely described the realities of THE GAP in housing and services which leave people outside with "Nowhere to Go."
According to Coroner's Report,
          29 died on our streets from July 2018 - July 2019



Mark Lakeman/
Co-founder of
        City Repair Project,



"The vision to create a living place of vitality, safety, and human scale is an indomitable urge that likely resides in all people. In fact, history bears out that people create sustainable places and mutual support networks whenever they have access to enough land, resources, and help. That said, Opportunity Village, supported mightily by Andrew Heben, has taken the lead in demonstrating the remarkable inspiring effects and healing power of such a vision in action. The idea that a group of people can undertake democratic processes in such a way that they repair themselves and create a sustainable expression of place will be of interest to everyone."





     by Andrew Heben

 can be ordered at



"I began to develop a more comprehensive vision for a "tent city urbanism"--a bottom-up approach to the provision of shelter based on observing and building upon existing patterns forged by the unhoused. Furthermore, it became increasingly clear that this topic had implications larger than just homelessness--it addressed our dire need for a cultural injection of community, democracy, and sustainability."                                                         

For inspiration....
     Please view 8-minute PBS VIDEO
               on OPPORTUNITY VILLAGE


As noted previously,

Quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let the Trumpet Sound:
A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

               By Stephen B. Oates.
                          p. 214

How can you get involved?  Go to their web site and learn about exciting new developments!


  Here's one! 

CLICK HERE FOR John Hardin's KMUD radio coverage.  His descriptions and interviews can help you feel like you're right there at the launching!

Give them a call at 298-1466.