Andrew Lunetta, Founder and Executive Director of A Tiny Home for Good, Inc., spoke at the Strathmore Speaker Series on Thursday, October 13th, 2016.
Lunetta, who lived in Syracuse as a child and attended Ed Smith Elementary through third grade, grew up in Massachusetts before returning to Syracuse in 2008 to attend Le Moyne College. He graduated from Le Moyne in 2012 with a degree in Peach and Conflict Studies and went on to earn his Masters in Public Policy from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School in 2014.
Drawn to helping others since a gap year spent substitute teaching in Cleveland, Ohio through the AmeriCorps program, Lunetta quickly sought out ways to help others upon his return to Syracuse. As a freshman at Le Moyne, he started volunteering regularly at the Brady Faith Center, an organization which would eventually invite him to join its board. Through the center Lunetta became involved with helping the city’s homeless and quickly found his calling. He created a drop-in center, started a program that provides sandwiches, and began a bike give away program for the Center’s homeless patrons.
His involvement with the Center eventually led to the establishment of his latest endeavor, the A Tiny Home for Good project in 2014, which aims to provide affordable, safe and dignified housing for Syracuse’s homeless. With the help of volunteers, the project completed the construction of its first two homes on Rose Street in Syracuse earlier this year.
Each modest home measures 12′ by 20′, and contains a single room that includes a living area, bed, kitchen, and bathroom. They also include a small outdoor shed to store they occupants’ bikes. Costing less than $25,000 each to construct and making use of already vacant lost, the project’s homes are a compelling alternative to VanKeuren Square, a state-of-the-art East Side housing complex for homeless vets that cost $11.4 million for 50 units, or $228,000 per apartment.
Since finishing his first two homes, Lunetta has begun construction of three new homes on South Salina Street which are expected to be completed this fall and plans are already in the works to build more new homes near the Rescue Mission.