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health as it happens

Former addict leads way as 5 tiny homes now available for Pensacola homeless - WEAR

by Lauren Krakau

Thursday, July 22nd 2021

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PENSACOLA, Fla. -- A man with a mission to help house the homeless made his dream a reality on Thursday.

Five new huts are now in Pensacola, ready to be a home for the homeless. People came from all over to lend a helping hand.

Some cut their vacations short, while 14-year-old Paxton Hardy spent his birthday doing something most kids his age probably wouldn't -- building huts for the homeless.

"I figured that’d be a good thing to do today," he said.

Everyone came together to help make Caleb Houston's vision come to life.

“Coming from drug addiction myself, homelessness, I know," said Houston, who's the founder of "There's Hope" and "Huts For Our Friends." "I know the struggle that a lot of these individuals are dealing with and I feel like that's why God allowed me to come up to a place where we can provide these services and help individuals in need.”

Back in January, he launched Huts For Our Friends -- a volunteer-led group with a goal of constructing tiny homes for the homeless. He also connected them with resources to get back on their feet.

"I believe because I've been through it, I know the necessary steps to obtain sobriety," Houston said.

Now, five huts are one step closer to being livable. Soon, all will be equipped with working utilities.

"Lights, AC and heat in the facility," Houston said. "It’s amazing that each hut will now have power to it.”

But the work is far from over. Houston hopes to have even more huts built in the near future.

"I really hope that the community of Pensacola will look at the serious issue we’re dealing with here in our community of homelessness," Houston said.

The utilities for the five huts are being paid for by a private donor.

Port-a-Potties and a hand washing station will also be for use for those who live in the huts.

Houston says contractors and crews from Baptist Health were among those helping. He expects them to be completed by next week.