Does Compact Middle Class Housing Threaten More And More Unhoused?

Modest-sized housed under construction
This scene was created by affordablehousingaction.org and is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

The New York Times, which is paywalled, offers up a witty headline: The Great Compression.

The headline is a 21st century take on The Great Depression, which refers to the decade following a stock market crash in 1929. The headline is not just a play on words. It is an invitation to find out about the small homes that are being built in America’s suburbs.

The Times article makes it clear that the homes under discussion are not those most commonly referred to as ‘tiny homes.’ The article is not referring to the temporary housing ‘communities’ created for people who are unhoused while they wait for long term habitable housing — should it ever arrive.

Instead, the Great Compression is about the increasing numbers of Americans who are looking at 372 metres (4002 feet) of suburban living, as opposed to affordable middle class housing in the 1862 metre (2,0002 feet) range.

Suburban housing, from the most modest all the way to upscale ‘McMansions,’ have provided profitable gravy for free market housing developers over the years. Now potential suburbanites with shrinking purses are accepting a full range of supposed suburban benefits except for housing size.

Smaller size, shrinking middle class expectations, cheaper construction costs and greater developer profits — where does this trend leave people with no housing, waiting forever to finally achieve a human right to adequate housing? A new question with no simple answers, only fears?

Read more in the New York Times (If you can) : The Great Compression

Here are a couple of recent articles that reflect some of the interest as middle class wannabe owners or renters contemplate living downsized in American suburbs. Unlike the New York Times, these publications are not shying away from the term ‘tiny’.

Read more in BUSINESS INSIDER: A new tiny-home community near Tampa where units under 400 square feet start at $95,000 is nearly sold out — take a look around

. . . and in the SAN ANTONIO Report:
Tiny homes on small lots popping up in San Antonio area