Updated – From Tents Without Rents To Sheds With Beds: “No Thanks” Either Way, Say Neighbours

Tiny house at sunset

Tiny House photo by Amber Case is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Tiny houses can supply some of the affordable housing desperately needed in many cities.
Just over two years ago, we reported on tiny home communities that were being built in Seattle and other cities across the United States. Today, we’re checking in again, this time about how these tiny home communities are faring during COVID-19. There was no transmission in tiny home communities in Seattle at the start of the pandemic, while there were outbreaks in congregate emergency shelters. The City of Seattle was so impressed with the results that it approved funding for another 50 homes, even though the housing doesn’t qualify for national COVID emergency relief funding. As the author points out, there are many other benefits as well. You can read more at Shelterforce: The Case for Building Tiny House Villages During the Pandemic

Below: our post on homelessness initiatives using tiny homes.

In the neighbourly United States, homelessness belongs somewhere else, it doesn’t matter where. And what about homes to house the people experiencing homelessness? They also belong somewhere else. It also doesn’t matter where. Just so long as it’s not here.

This conundrum and complication further stresses non-profits and government agencies that struggle to find the resources needed to actually get the people experiencing homelessness into housing. Even with funding in hand, they are continually faced with fierce neighbourhood opposition, not only towards homeless people, but also to homeless people who have successfully become housed.

Activists working to end homelessness push back, demanding that formerly homeless people be allowed to participate in a community, not languish in a ghetto of formerly homeless people built far away from prickly neighbours in some industrial or rural backwater.

Inevitably, the opposition towards housing the homeless in a neighbourhood is fierce, and temporary solutions may be needed. One solution in British Columbia involves modular buildings designed to be erected in one neighborhood, then dismantled at a later date to be moved to a fresh and equally hostile neighbourhood. Try Seattle Eyes Vancouver’s Modular Housing Attack on Homelessness

For an in-depth report of attempts in the United States to build small and affordable private houses that allow homeless people off the streets and out of shelters, read more in the Washington Post:1 Tiny houses multiply amid big issues as communities tackle homelessness


  1. The Washington Post has a paywall and your access may be limited.

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