Tiny Transitional Homes. Some Assembly Requir— What? Done Already?

Beyond a field of long grass, a row of colourful tiny houses break the skyline
Beach Houses in Ærøskøbing photo by Günter Glasauer is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
There has been little practical purpose for tiny home communities (the picture shows beach houses in Denmark) but it may have a future as transitional tiny housing.

How to explain what seems to be a middle class romance with the idea of getting away from it all by hiding in your own closet — one transported to the countryside with killer views?

It tickles this writer’s fancy, though as a card-carrying middle classmate (daddy was a lawyer) as well as a renter, the relentlessly rising cost of commodified housing is making closet-living more a frightening spectre of soon-to-be reality than a quaint clothes-sniffing romance.1

So please forgive the momentary self-indulgent me-in-my-small-corner fantasy and let’s move on to the people for whom a tiny home can mean a transition from no shelter at all to the reality of a roof overhead, a door to close against the elements, and the opportunity for moments of solitude (frightening as they may occasionally be).

Affordablehousingaction.org has done posts about the use of tiny homes as transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness. There have been few so far featuring individual tiny houses on scattered lots. That’s undoubtedly because scatterings of suitable single-tiny-home-sized lots do not exist within most urban landscapes.2 As a result, proposals for “communities” of tiny homes grouped together have been the order of the day. We’ve explored some which have been proposed or come to fruition: Can Micro Income, Micro Houses And Micro Businesses Add Up To Micro Communities?

The difficulty involved with transitional housing “communities” of tiny homes? They come up against the full force of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) activism. That’s at least partly driven by a fear that housing, even tiny housing, might become permanent. It raises the spectre of an entire crowd of low and no income residents invading the neighbourhood and staying forever.

Modular housing, which can be assembled, but also taken down and moved, is one way to mitigate this NIMBY fear.3 Over the last couple of years the province of British Columbia has made a significant investment in modular low-rise multi-home buildings which are capable of being disassembled and moved on to another site in the fullness of time.

The article featured below takes the tiny home “community” approach. Its impressive claim to fame is the incredible speed with which each tiny house can be moved onto a site and assembled. Read more in edhat: Tiny Homes Arrive For Isla Vista Homeless Community

Footnotes

  1. Try: Tiny Houses: A Figment Fit For The Imagination, But No Big Affordable Solution
  2. One clever exception — engaging the temporary use of “other” people’s lots scattered across a cityscape: try Portland’s Ingenious Plan For Creating Tiny Home Landlords: The Movie
  3. Try: Kamloops Can Dodge NIMBY With Temporarily Permanent Transitional Housing For The Homeless

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