Tiny Homes


As housing costs rise, many question how to provide beds and shelter to those unable to afford it. The concept of tiny homes is one response to this quandary, one that essentially represents a new model of housing. During the urban renewal movement in the mid-1960s that focused on clearing slums, many SRO buildings were demolished leaving low-income residents with few options. Today as urban areas become more popular again, any remaining SROs are threatened by gentrification and developer pressure to gain a higher profit from these urban lots. Just as the middle- and upper-class fled to the suburbs in the mid-20th century leaving urban areas to the poor, a reverse trend is occurring today with middle- and upper-class moving back into the cities and pushing the poor out. In response to all of these forces, the tiny homes movement has presented a way to provide an affordable SRO model in a flexible format that can adapt to non-urban settings. Communities of tiny homes have sprung up in cities like Austin TX and Portland OR, offering people experiencing homelessness a place of their own and a tiny neighborhood to belong to – while maintaining affordability, offering all the conveniences of a regular-sized home, and providing the modularity that a large urban building cannot deliver. While these efforts are sometimes led by organizations, some individual craftsmen have taken up the challenge as well, creating homes and shelters from found objects for people experiencing homelessness in their neighborhoods.

As housing costs rise, many question how to provide beds and shelter to those unable to afford it. The concept of tiny homes is one response to this quandary, one that essentially represents a new model of housing. During the urban renewal movement in the mid-1960s that focused on clearing slums, many SRO buildings were demolished leaving low-income residents with few options. Today as urban areas become more popular again, any remaining SROs are threatened by gentrification and developer pressure to gain a higher profit from these urban lots. Just as the middle- and upper-class fled to the suburbs in the mid-20th century leaving urban areas to the poor, a reverse trend is occurring today with middle- and upper-class moving back into the cities and pushing the poor out. In response to all of these forces, the tiny homes movement has presented a way to provide an affordable SRO model in a flexible format that can adapt to non-urban settings. Communities of tiny homes have sprung up in cities like Austin TX and Portland OR, offering the homeless a place of their own and a tiny neighborhood to belong to – while maintaining affordability and offering the modularity that a large urban building cannot deliver. While these efforts are sometimes led by organizations, some individual craftsmen have taken up the challenge as well, creating homes and shelters from found objects for homeless in their neighborhoods.