Founder and President Elizabeth Singleton

Founder and President Elizabeth Singleton (middle) of Phoenix-based nonprofit Build Us H.O.P.E. got the idea to build tiny homes from her 12-year-old daughter. 

After spending the past few years designing and deploying tiny homes for Veterans and others in need, Phoenix-based nonprofit Build Us H.O.P.E. recently got to show off its hard work during the Innovative Housing Showcase in Washington D.C.

Build Us H.O.P.E. was invited to the inaugural event hosted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at the National Mall in June. It presented its tiny homes alongside 15 other organizations doing similar work in their states.

Presenting at the event was a moment of pride for Elizabeth Singleton, president and founder of Singleton Community Services (SCS), which has housed and serviced more than 2,500 vulnerable adults and families in Arizona during the past 15 years. Build Us H.O.P.E. is the grassroots housing initiative of SCS.

“It was a real pleasure and honor to take our team there and to be able to represent tiny homes for Veterans and affordable innovative housing options,” Singleton said.

The types of tiny homes Singleton and her team displayed in Washington can be seen at the V-13 Veterans’ Village in Phoenix near 13th Ave. and Buckeye Road. V-13 is a collection of sustainable and affordable tiny homes – each approximately 300 square feet – designed to give homeless Veterans a place to call their own.

In building V-13 and other tiny housing projects, Build Us H.O.P.E. faced planning, zoning and construction challenges, but Singleton sees the efforts as extending far beyond just building residences.

“It was a very time-consuming and costly experience, but we felt it was worth it,” Singleton said. “We weren’t just fighting for ourselves. We were fighting for anyone who would like to call a tiny house their home.” 

As an advocacy group for the homeless, disabled and mentally ill, Build Us H.O.P.E. was established as a response to a lack of adequate housing to properly shelter the Valley’s homeless population.

Singleton said it was actually her 12-year-old daughter’s idea to provide a different kind of accommodation for those in need. 

“My daughter was like, ‘Why don’t we build them tiny homes?’” Singleton said.  

From that simple notion, Singleton partnered with like-minded organizations including ASU GreenLight Solutions Foundation and Linderoth Associates Inc., to create Build Us H.O.P.E. And while V-13 focuses on Veterans, the group’s mission extends to anyone who is trying to get back on their feet after a tough time. 

Through its continuous work with planning and zoning departments at the city, county and state levels, the process of building and selling a tiny home is easier now than ever before.  

“I think the state sees the value in tiny homes, as they came to me and said they’re looking at these homes to put an end to the issue of homelessness and they feel that these are great models,” Singleton said.  

Singleton says Arizona requires at least 200,000 more affordable housing units to meet current needs.  

After the success at V-13, the Build Us H.O.P.E. team is ready to construct more Veterans’ villages. The group plans on building 1,000 tiny homes in the next three years.

“We want to help in the housing crisis and create affordable housing for Veterans,” Singleton said. “We are so thankful to the community for their support in shedding a light on homeless Veterans.”

For more: buildushope.org.