Tiny House Trouble: kids have trouble donating tiny home to veteran

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Dozens of kids in Georgia set out to do a good deed for the homeless, but ran into red tape along the way.

Children at the Elm Street School in Rome made it their school project to build a tiny home, and deliver it to a homeless veteran. The challenge, however, is finding a city where a veteran can legally put it.

"We're reaching out for help. We don't want this to sit here empty," said teacher Sandy Hemphill.

The tiny house, which measures four feet by eight feet, will also have a sleeping bag, supplies, and a propane heater that is safe for a small house or tent, but has no plumbing or electricity. The children were inspired by efforts of others nationwide, building tiny homes for the homeless. 

"Imagine somebody not having a house, being cold in the winter. This could probably help that person be warm," said Rosenda Cux Chan, a fifth grade student, who was one of many who also helped raise funds to pay for building supplies.

The children spent months building the home, and has now been sitting at the school since May.

In an effort to relocate the house, teachers have reached out to numerous cities across the state to find a permanent home for the structure, and discovered the legal challenges: they said different zoning laws either don't address the unique nature of the home, or would ban someone from using it. 

The children and teachers hope someone in Georgia or surrounding states can direct them to a city where the home can be legally placed, or a veteran who could use the home.

"Some [veterans] still can't be home with their family for Christmas. We actually thought this would be a really nice gift for a veteran," said student Journei Griffin.

Anyone with information to help the students can reach Elm Street Elementary at (706) 232-5313, or e-mail Asst. Principal Laura Walley at lwalley@rcs.rome.ga.us

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