Tiny homes could make big difference in Lakeland

Tiny homes are the next big thing in Lakeland.

Gospel Inc., which helps people struggling with chronic homelessness, just got $824,000 from Polk County to build dozens of tiny homes and apartments.

"It is a dream come true," offered Brian Seeley, the president of Gospel Inc. "The county has really catapulted us into the building of more units to house more people and care for more people."

The homes will be about 340 square feet with a full-sized bedroom, kitchen, living room and bathroom.

Funding for the project comes out of the $140 million of COVID-19 relief money that Polk got from the federal government.

The tiny homes are just the latest venture of Gospel Inc. Earlier this year, the community was little more than a run-down trailer park just off Bartow Highway in Lakeland. In February, Gospel Inc. bought it and renamed it Gospel Village.

Since then, it has been steadily improving the property by rehabbing old apartments and building new additions.

The group just completed an open-air kitchen where the community can hold events. It has built gazebos and decks where people can congregate. It has also launched a community refrigerator where residents can come get free food whenever they need it.

Seeley expects to break ground on the tiny home project by the middle of 2022.