North Las Vegas authorities demolished a community of tiny homes that sheltered the homeless because the 50-square-foot structures didn’t meet the minimum home size required by law or conform to other strict housing regulations. The situation showcases how government often thwarts private solutions to homelessness and poverty.

The tiny homes were built on private property owned by the nonprofit New Leaf Building Community. New Leaf’s structures are small and basic, featuring four walls, one window, and a front door that locks. But despite their small size and lack of amenities, they could be life-changing for people previously living on the streets.

“Now I sleep on the damn sidewalk because of this!” a man who had been living in a New Leaf home told KTNV Las Vegas.

This is from Elizabeth Nolan Brown, “Tiny Homes for Las Vegas Homeless Demolished Over Code Violations,” Reason, August 23, 2022.

More background:

The New Leaf homes were built on private land by volunteers. The idea was to provide homeless people with “a place to call home,” said New Leaf leader Joseph Lankowski. “They had a tiny home where they could lock the door, so then they could actually go out and get services without having to worry about getting your things stolen or anything like that.”

Lankowski raised funds to buy the land after other options failed. In November 2020, the government destroyed 28 tiny homes New Leaf built on public land that had for years housed a homeless encampment. New Leaf then tried building tiny homes on trailers that could be parked in public parking spaces, but police started towing these. “And because their whole argument was property, you know, ‘This is our property. It’s not your property.’ And we said, ‘Okay. We’ll buy our own property,'” he told KNTV.

Read the whole maddening thing.