Staffing shortages leave Tiny Home Village units unoccupied

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Almost two years after the Tiny Home Village opened, a little more than half of the tiny homes are actually occupied.

The reason? Not enough staffing.

“There are five positions for social services technician needs, for social technicians,” said Steven Brooks, the housing coordinator for Tiny Home Village.

Originally, officials say the requirements were too restrictive which kept units unoccupied.

“We eliminated the 30-day sobriety requirement and implemented there be no sex offenders, no violent offenses, they’re able to live independently, that kind of stuff,” Steven Brooks said.

Even with the relaxed requirements, those staffing shortages are limiting the number of people living in the village.

Brooks says, until positions are filled, the village will have to stop the application process.

“The struggle of just being on the street is huge,” resident Raynaldo Rolon said.

Raynaldo is one of the 17 current residents in the Tiny Home Village. Before that, he was on the streets, relying on vouchers and moving from motel to motel.

“A lot of people look at me sometimes in the street as like, ‘you don’t look homeless,’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I don’t carry myself that way,’ you know? I don’t have to dress bummy, I don’t have to be in the street or anything like that, and I tried to stay away as much as possible from the drugs and everything out here in the streets,” he said.

Raynaldo first moved from New York to New Mexico in 2016. Then, five months ago, he moved into the village with his cat Ivory. Together, they live in a 120-square-foot home, complete with everything they need.

“This is all yours, you know what I mean? Like, until you decide you want to take the next step and get your own place, you know? So everything you need is in one area, right? Yeah! Everything you need is all in one area,” he said.

As Raynaldo indicated, this community is part of Bernalillo County’s transitional housing program. There are 30 units but only 17 of them are filled.

It’s still unclear how long the staffing shortage will go on and when the application process will reopen.