A FORMER resident of a tiny home village was evicted and lost ownership of her property despite offering to pay rent.
The tiny hometown in western Detroit, Michigan, is home to low-income residents who can own their own home in seven years.
Tenants pay a monthly rent of $1 per square foot plus electricity, and homes range in size from 225 square feet to 470 square feet.
Residents include retirees, former homeless people, and seniors, some of whom make as little as $7,000 a year.
Taura Brown, 44, was diagnosed with stage five kidney disease and qualified for the Tiny Home Project in 2020 because she received disability benefits.
However, she was evicted in April for not spending enough time in her tiny house to consider it her primary residence.
Cass Community Social Services claimed she spent more time in her boyfriend’s $2,000-a-month apartment than in their tiny house.
The claims added that Brown listed her name on the lease, although she argued it was for ease of access to the complex and its facilities, including the pool.
By signing the contract for the tiny home, the residents agree that it will become their main residence.
As a result, in 2021, Social Services chose not to renew Brown’s lease, even though she offered to pay rent.
She was subsequently served with an eviction notice after refusing to leave after her offer of rent was rejected.
Brown and Cass Community Social Services went to court on the matter.
Rev. Faith Fowler, executive director of Cass Community Social Services, said in a statement that Brown violated “both the spirit and the terms of the Tiny Homes program.” The Detroit News.
She added that Brown did so by choosing to “make another residence her primary residence.”
The statement continued, “The Cass Tiny Homes were never intended to be used as a second home or sit vacant.”
“They should provide poor people with safe and affordable rental housing that could be converted into owner-occupied homes after seven years.
“There’s no shortage of Detroiters who need this type of housing, not as an investment, but as a primary residence.”
In March, a judge joined the program and bailiffs were sent to the home to evict Brown, where they were met with angry protesters.
Accordingly The New York TimesMs Brown’s former home is valued at around $90,000 on Zillow, an investment she has now lost.
Carolyn Hobbs is one of the three original residents from 2017, who is expected to own her own home next September.
The 72-year-old told the news outlet: “I didn’t think I would ever own a house.”
“It really is a well-rounded program. They help you with your work or with your clothes and try to help you on your feet.”
Of her neighbor’s eviction, Hobbs said, “It was kind of sad that it happened.”
Phillip Watson, 66, who lived across from Brown, added: “I’m glad it’s over. It makes the neighborhood look bad.”
Brown received her life-saving kidney transplant in May after she was spotted leaving her small home with her dialysis machines and bags, escorted by bailiffs in April.