ONE tiny home community is allowing residents to find permanent housing by living in an unusual piece of equipment.
As Americans look to lower their monthly spending, tiny homes have surged in popularity.
The tiny home village serves the homeless population in Santa BarbaraCredit: DignityMoves
Many tiny home fans have formed groups and created their own communities as well, where rent is cheap and the sky’s the limit on their custom built tiny home designs.
However, one community, DignityMoves, opened as a zero-rent prefab tiny home village in Santa Barbara, California last year.
It was designed to house homeless residents in the city, and just a year out, more than half of its residents have been able to find a permanent home.
The community originally housed 66 people, but 36 are in their own living spaces today.
Read more about tiny homes
However, the space’s building blocks are a bit unorthodox – all units were completely built from shipping containers.
The village rests in a former parking lot surrounded by palm trees and a mountain view.
The entire group of homes cost $1.7million to build last year after Santa Barbara County provided $700,000 to finance it.
The project’s tiny homes were constructed by Boss Tiny House for simple but aesthetic living.
Each home includes a bed, window and desk alongside an air conditioner and heater.
Across the tiny home community, residents have access to case workers, a dining hall, computer lab and gardens.
This is in addition to Dignity Moves’ laundry, bathroom and shower units.
Each private space has a lock too, ensuring that residents will get privacy in the comfort of their own home.
“We take for granted what it feels like to be able to be alone,” Elizabeth Funk, the founder and CEO of Dignity Moves, told Insider.
All in all, there are roughly 3,500 homeless people living in Santa Barbara county, but last year, 66 got to live in the new village.
Funk said over the past year, she’s seen “shocking transformations” in the residents.
There are other Dignity Moves communities set up in Sonoma County and San Francisco, but there could soon be plenty more to come.
Regarding the Santa Barbara location, Funk hopes to add in an additional 400 beds, but it’s unclear when this could be possible.
MORE TINY HOME COMMUNITIES
Other tiny home communities are increasingly popping up across the United States.
In Kennewick, Washington, a village called Lilac Homes is open to people in need.
The 16 houses shelter those who are most at risk in the community.
“We are going to be able to house individuals who we have targeted,” Lona Hammer, a representative of the housing authority, said.
“That includes homeless veterans, homeless people with disabilities, and homeless families with children.”
Meanwhile, in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, Raven Village has 22 units on the market.
Residents have access to a community kitchen, bathrooms, showers, and a laundry facility on set, as well as staff offices and a garden.
TINY HOME ADVICE
If you would like to live in a tiny home on your own, you’ll need to be in charge of finding and building your unit.
The most common type of unit tends to be either a shed or an RV, and both have pros and cons.
While RVs give you the flexibility of traveling wherever you’d like, some town ordinances require you to only be parked in certain spaces for a short period of time.
Sheds also require you to know your state and county’s zoning laws, as you typically can’t just live in a shed on someone else’s home property.
Keep in mind, you’ll also be responsible for adding all the required plumbing and electrical services.
You also need to ensure you have a space to put your tiny home.
This means you’ll likely need to search for land to rent.
Spaces are routinely put up for auction on sites like Facebook Marketplace, or you can apply for land in an established tiny home community.
One tiny home guru purchased a mini house for $20,000, and their space saving techniques allow them to have an extra room.
Meanwhile, a family of four is able to live in a neighborhood full of $800,000 homes due to their tiny house priced at just $100,000.