A tiny shared apartment is allowing residents to find permanent accommodation by living in an unusual unit.
As Americans look to reduce their monthly expenses, tiny homes are becoming increasingly popular.
Many tiny home fans have formed groups and also started their own communities where rent is affordable and there are no limits when it comes to creating their custom tiny home designs.
However, one community, DignityMoves, opened last year as a tiny, rent-free prefab village in Santa Barbara, California.
It was designed to accommodate the city’s homeless residents and after just one year, more than half of the residents were able to find permanent homes.
The community originally housed 66 people, but today 36 of them live in their own homes.
However, the room’s building blocks are somewhat unorthodox – all units were built entirely from shipping containers.
The village is located on a former parking lot, surrounded by palm trees and with views of the mountains.
The entire group of homes cost $1.7 million to build last year after Santa Barbara County provided $700,000 in funding.
The project’s tiny houses were built by Boss Tiny House for simple but aesthetic living.
Each house has a bed, a window and a desk as well as air conditioning and heating.
Throughout the tiny community, residents have access to case workers, a dining room, a computer lab, and gardens.
This is in addition to Dignity Moves laundry, bathroom and shower units.
Each private area also has a lock to ensure residents can enjoy the privacy of their own home.
“We take for granted what it feels like to be able to be alone,” Elizabeth Funk, founder and CEO of Dignity Moves, told Insider.
In total, there are about 3,500 homeless people in Santa Barbara County, but last year 66 were able to live in the new village.
Funk said she has seen “shocking changes” in residents over the past year.
There are other Dignity Moves communities in Sonoma County and San Francisco, but many more could be coming soon.
As for the Santa Barbara location, Funk hopes to add another 400 beds, but it’s unclear when that might 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 house the most vulnerable people in the community.
“We will be able to house individuals that we have targeted,” said Lona Hammer, a housing authority representative.
“This includes homeless veterans, homeless people with disabilities and homeless families with children.”
Raven Village now has 22 units on the market in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.
Residents have access to a communal kitchen, bathrooms, showers and on-set laundry facilities, as well as staff offices and a garden.
TINY HOME ADVICE
If you want to live alone in a tiny home, you have to take care of finding and building your living unit.
The most common type of unit is either a shed or an RV, and both have advantages and disadvantages.
While RVs give you the flexibility to travel wherever you want, some city ordinances require them to only be parked in certain parking spaces for short periods of time.
Sheds also require that you know your state and county’s zoning laws, as you typically can’t just live in a shed on someone else’s property.
Remember that you are also responsible for providing all necessary plumbing and electrical installations.
You also need to make sure you have space for your tiny home.
This means you will probably have to look for properties to rent out.
Lots are regularly auctioned off on sites like Facebook Marketplace, or you can apply for lots in an established tiny home community.
A tiny home guru bought a tiny home for $20,000 and his space-saving techniques allow him to have an extra room.
Meanwhile, a family of four can live in a neighborhood full of $800,000 homes because their tiny house only costs $100,000.