Rick Klun

©Center City Housing

On that warm, sunny Saturday a few weeks ago, Rick Klun stopped by to visit the resident of Center City's first tiny house.

The woman, who had been homeless for ten years and living in a shelter, was entertaining her daughter, and the pair had plans to head up the shore to pick agates.

Ruben Schade/Flickr

Tiny houses.  Micro-homes.  Re-purposed shipping containers.  We've heard the buzz about them not only as environmentally friendly housing options, but as low-cost options to help house the homeless in our country.

In Madison, WI, tiny houses to shelter the people struggling with homelessness cost about $4,000 apiece.

In Duluth, plans were afoot a year ago to convert shipping containers - which are plentiful and comparatively inexpensive in the Twin Ports - to housing, and at about half the cost per unit of traditional low-income housing.

Flickr/ scribbletaylor

What are the root causes of homelessness ... and why do some call it "a spiritual failing of our country"? Our guests are Rick Klun, executive director of Center City Housing; Bob Grytdal, Duluth's Human Rights Officer and Lee Stuart, executive director of CHUM (Churches United in Ministry).