Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Tiny Houses, Homeless And Low Income Housing Options

Alright this post is inevitably going to ruffle some feathers and bring much disagreement.  However I still feel like I need to share my thoughts on this topic.  So if folks disagree, let’s try to keep the conversation civil and productive even if we disagree.  Also please read the full post before commenting, because without doing so, I don’t get to finish my point, which may address your comment.   So into the fire we go…


I guess a good place to start is what I think tiny houses are good for and a little of my background.  Before I took the leap to my current career, I worked directly with homeless and in other non profit capacities where I came face to face with the realities of homelessness, drug use, child abuse, systemic generational poverty and a whole host of other major social issues.  It was both inspiring to see the unsung heroes like single mothers trying to keep a stable home and the tragic realities of drug use tearing families apart at all income levels.

I share this because unlike most, I’ve had to grapple with the issues first hand.  More importantly I worked on some of the most progressive programs in the country to tackle these issues.  I’ve seen what actually makes a difference, what makes an impact, and what doesn’t work; because I’ve been there, basically what I’m saying is I feel I’m more informed on this topic than most folks out there.

So what are tiny houses good for?  I believe they are a great way for people to reclaim the future, a future without debt, a future with possibilities and opportunities.  I see tiny houses as a major activator for people.  It is a way that people can be their most actualized self’s.  This is a really important point that I want to make for this entire post, most of what I’m going to say is predicated on this single notion. 


I believe that tiny houses should be built, designed and lived in for one to achieve self actualization, not just for basic needs.  I think that anything short of that is a failure. In some cases it could be of the person or of society, its support services and general functions; realistically its a mix of both at varying degrees.  At this point I will generally say across the board, we all can do better.  I believe a person should work hard, do their best, and carry their fair share, but I also know we as a society have challenges in enabling people to be the best we can be and we can do better.  Imagine a society where every person is brought to their maximum potential, I’m not sure it will ever be possible, but even getting close would be awe inspiring.

So now what I think tiny houses aren’t for.  I feel that if a person chooses a tiny house because the are financially left with no other option then they should not live in a tiny house.  That is not because I don’t think low income folks shouldn’t live in tiny houses or I’m trying to maintain some status quo; it is because I feel that if someone chooses a tiny house because that’s the only thing they can afford then we as a society have failed.  I also know in order to live in such a tiny space, if your motivation isn’t 100% because you have come to the determination that a tiny house is for your best life, it won’t work out; you’ll end up moving out soon after and trying to get back you money through selling it.

Let’s be clear, I’m not against this because of the person, but because somewhere along the way, that person was put into that compromising situation.  Let’s not get into the potential political implications here of socialization, “entitlement programs” and other way society can support individuals.  Instead let us agree that if someone is forced into a tiny house because they financially have no other choice, something went wrong: in reality that person could have done things differently, our community and neighbors could have done things differently and our society/government could have done better too; let’s skip specifically how they could have done better, because it will just muddle the issue we are discussing here.


So who should live in a tiny house?  I believe that a person should live in a tiny house when the first four levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs (the image above) are fulfilled.  This means that the person has all their basic needs met, they are secure, they have a support system, and are in good esteem about themselves.  Note in that I don’t tie that to any financial status, but the realities of this world mean that these things are intrinsically tied to money.  Right now it takes money to put a roof over your head, to put food on the table and keep you healthy, warm and clean.

It is true that a tiny house can equate to a roof over your head and the money situation changes in favor of food, warmth, etc.  But I feel like we should not just leave it there.  Tiny houses should be beautiful and well designed homes, not a budget utilitarian structure.  The reason being is that if its just a house built with the cheapest materials possible, with only utility in mind, with choices made because of budget, we again are failing because one can not achieve their maximum potential in a poorly executed tiny house.

bad design

I believe that a well designed space that has good materiality and quality craftsmanship is the only way to be actualized.  So in general I don’t like the notion that “I’m going to build the cheapest house possible because that’s all I can afford.”  It is not that cheap materials can’t be used to achieve great things, that unique can’t be beautiful, that quirky can’t be fun, but again, you should choose them because you have the choice of whatever is best for you.  And studies support this notion: studies have shown a better designed and appointed environment will make us happier, learn more, be more vibrant and think better.

Basically what I’m saying is that a person must first attain a level of quality of life, of inner peace and essentially prosperity before I think they should live in a tiny house.  Now I unquestionably understand there is a bit of the chicken or the egg paradox going on here, there are many that need a tiny house to change the game so they can achieve that prosperity, but I argue against this not because it’s the person’s fault – not necessarily, of course there are exceptions -, but that situation signals a failure somewhere in the system.  Again, lets not try to place a finger on where or who, because it will take us off topic here.

To take this a bit further I believe that a person should only make a choice to live in a tiny house when they have the option to live in a larger home and that choice would be a relatively easy one for them to execute on financially. The reason being that by being in that situation of having options, you can then choose what is best for you.  That could be a tiny house, a small house, an sail boat or possibly even a larger home.


The truth is if you can’t meet your basic needs (food, water, shelter), if you are always worrying about money, if you massively in debt, or some other compromising situation for whatever reason, you are operating in survival mode or from crisis to crisis.  In this state it forces a person to operate at a more basic level because you’re constantly worried about making rent/bills/etc that month, even though you are capable of a much higher level of being.

I think this is particularly true and important to note because many of the folks, though exceptions certainly exist, who started the movement and now tell the stories of tiny living (the main bloggers) were in a place where they had a choice. So when we read the blog posts we need to be able to differentiate the difference between their life of having those first four levels addressed and what actually stems from the tiny house.  I assert that a lot of the desirable traits of tiny houses are more so from being fulfilled not the house itself.

Thus getting into a tiny house is a poor way to achieve these things.  If you are at an economic disadvantage, if your health isn’t good, if you job doesn’t pay you enough, you have huge debt, or your stuck in a compromising position, a tiny house doesn’t fix that.  It may ease these burdens, but we should instead focus on the core issue, the root of the problem.  To not address these things and still live in a tiny house will not help and possibly make things worse if say the city comes and says you can’t live there.  Then you’re out all the money and no better off, in fact you’d be much worse off.

I want to illustrate having a house does not equal happiness, most often it merely amplifies the good or bad things that were already there.  The notion that most people who first came to the movement had options to live in most any way they wanted weighs out, particularly when the movement first started.  It is getting less this way, which I think is a good thing.

Back in 2010 we conducted a survey of 4,000 tiny house folks, most people who lived in tiny houses made an average individual income of $48,000 (if two income earns: ~$80,000) which is way more than the average household in the US.  What this means is the people who were the first to build and live in tiny homes on wheels had enough to make those choices freely.  Of course exceptions exists, but I also know they are the minority and little indication of the majority.

Again this is not to equate money with happiness, quality of life, or similar things, but the reality is that if you do have enough money (maybe not a lot) you can attain things which help towards this cause.  You can keep a roof over your head, you have health insurance that keeps you healthy, you don’t stress about paying bills which is the number one cause of divorce and stress today.  These things set the stage to be happy, but don’t necessarily cause or bring happiness.

One study that does tie in here: A recent Princeton study of 450,000 Americans found that people who make $75,000 annually seems to be the sweet spot.  At that level the person can have all the things they need, they can save for a rainy day, and they have some extra for entertainment.  Now that also doesn’t jive with the reality of most Americans, because the average median household income is about $43,000.

It is also certainly true that anyone at any level of economic status can be happy, but its also true that if you get sick and have no way to see a doctor, if you go to bed hungry, if you don’t get a good sleep consistently because you worry about bills,  it’s going to put a damper on things quickly.

Along these lines, if you live in a utilitarian house that is not beautiful, just ok craftsmanship, and cheap materiality you cannot attain your highest level of being.  I see folks living in home depot sheds with no insulation, they used T1-11 for siding, or things of that nature and I can’t see how they can meet their full potential in that space. I see people who live full time in RV’s, mobile homes, and the like which again, you can certainly have a decent life, but I don’t think you’ll find your full potential in those spaces.

To live in these spaces, I am not convinced that those folks can be their best selves in that structure. Can they be pretty happy and doing fine, sure. However I don’t want to see people do just “ok” or to scrape by, I want to see people grow to their best self.

Now I think there are certainly exceptions to everything and I think the tiny house movement has proved that breaking the norms is a powerful thing.  So I’d like to mention some exceptions that come to mind, but certainly are not limited to just these.

In all this it’s obvious that I don’t think tiny houses should be used as a tool to end homelessness.  That is because those who are homeless do not have their basic needs met and thus cannot have an actualized life until they are met.  I don’t believe that someone should live in a tiny house because they can’t do anything else.  If someone doesn’t come to the decision of tiny houses because they have come to that decision on an actualized state, it most likely will not work for them long term, tiny houses only really work out for those that intrinsically desire to live in such a small space.

What role I do see tiny houses in for the homeless is in a temporary housing option where we can stabilize them and get them into services to reintegrate them into a normal life.  In general the time they live in a tiny house should be used to get them healthy, feeling secure, start any mental health treatments or rehab services if needed, then get them into an employment opportunity and an apartment/group home.  In general I think they should be transitioned out of a tiny house in 6 months to a year at most.  At which point we focus on stability, treatment, mitigating negative behaviors, establishing new behaviors, and establishing healthy relationships.

In terms of lower income folks who are semi stable, but still living pay check to pay check, I feel like we need to focus not on a tiny house, but increasing that person’s economic prosperity, boosting income, getting out of debt and building a rainy day fund.  This could be achieved though pursuing further education, seeking higher paying jobs, support services of various kinds and a variety of other things.  Again lets not get into politics here and also please don’t read this as “poor people should just work harder or get a better job” because I disagree with that statement vehemently.  I do believe that people should have the opportunity to live a quality life that is productive and happy.

It is from there that I think that lower income folks can transition to a highly stable and actualized place, then make the decision to live in a tiny house or not.  Though many will argue that a tiny house will get people there sooner or might be the only way it would be possible to do so.  I agree and disagree with parts of that notion.  Again I feel that if someone is in this place its at least partly a systemic issue that needs be addressed.  Because again, a tiny house won’t fix the problem, it may just ease it’s outcomes, but its toxicity still exists.

Finally, to be fair, I should pick on those who do have the financial means to choose, because money doesn’t equal happiness and the pursuit of income can bring about negative behaviors that are counter to hierarchy of needs we are trying to achieve.  If you are one that earns, say $75,000 a year, there is very few situations that you should not be living your most actualized life.   You want to ensure you meet your needs, but also do things that will ensure you continue to live that way in the future.

With any career, it can be easy to spend too much time at work; a work life balance is notoriously difficult to achieve, but vital to your happiness.  You need to balance your work demands with the people in your life and self care.  Make sure you’re doing what makes you most happy.  Spend time with family, with your kids and friends.  Be a good partner to your significant other, communicate your needs, honor their needs, and be a giving lover.

In most situations you should be saving a sizable portion of your income for three things: retirement, rainy day fund, and upcoming big expenditures to avoid debt.  With this you are able to pay for today, save for tomorrow and weather the ups and downs in life.  A great quote that I’ve come to know as true is “there  is no dollar sign on peace of mind, this I’ve come to know”.

So that was a lot, but I feel much better sharing my thoughts on this topic, even if it will cause some disagreements.  At this point I guess I should reiterate that disagreements are fine, but let’s keep it civil, let’s have productive conversations that bring two viewpoints to a place where we move forward.  As with most of my musings, I share these ideas in this post as where I am currently in my thinking, but that is not a static thing; I certainly can be wrong and that’s okay because I learn from it.

Your Turn!

  • What role should tiny houses play with homelessness and affordable housing?
  • How would you solve the issue of someone not being fully actualize, but considering a tiny house?
  1. I think you make some excellent points. If we look at low income housing options currently offered, they’re typically little more than the tiny house that would be made available, and the situations of the individuals residing there haven’t been improved one bit. In fact, it could easily be argued they’re worse off because of the dependence it creates. While that’s part of that discussion that’s better for other forums, a tiny house wouldn’t change that dynamic.

    So I think you’re correct, a tiny house cheaply built to create a simple, utilitarian housing unit is not desirable. It can be argued that any housing is better than no housing, but a tiny house doesn’t not being met by low income housing now, and really only serves to transfer the problem from one location to another.

    It’s also really the flip side to the individual of means who owns a big house, has a big mortgage, and debt beyond being manageable, which would be a large portion of the population. As you note, simply transferring that situation to a tiny house doesn’t negate the problems, but only minimizes them in part. Just like the homeless person being installed a in tiny house doesn’t eliminate the other issues he’s confronting in life, a big spending, debt-carrying person won’t find a tiny house solves that mindset either.

    I think you’ve raised a good topic, one that individuals need to think about how it relates to their own situations and whether they’re using tiny houses as an escape hatch without trying to escape from the rest of the anchors they have holding them back.

    • I 100% agree on your point of someone who is over burdened with debt in a large home. How can you be your best self when you’re afraid to answer your own phone because debt collectors are calling.

      It is true that that no house is better than no house, I can’t disagree with that of course and as you noted, the problem faced is only transferred.

  2. Lots of good points, but I think you’ve got it exactly wrong about who should live in tiny houses. Providing the basics — a roof over one’s head, food — in a safe environment allows people to take a breath, and once they feel secure they can begin to move up Maslow’s hierarchy. Some programs for homeless people around the country are working to get people into safe, quality housing and *then* working on their other needs – job training, treatment for alcoholism, and so so – and it works.

    I’m not sure any agency, governmental or otherwise, should have the responsibility for turning someone into a self-actualized human being, but providing the basics and the luxury of time to rest, regroup and think is more likely to make that happen than insisting on an advanced level of functioning before we house these people.

    In “My Fair Lady,” Alfred P. Doolittle talked about the “undeserving poor” and insisted that they needed more help than the “deserving poor.” That always stuck in my mind. I think too many of us have the notion that there are people who deserve help and people who don’t. I’m all for helping everybody and for not putting value judgments on human beings. If some people in a tiny home want to move on to something better, well, that’s part of their climb up the ladder; if some old geezer wants to move into a tiny home, live off food stamps every month, and just avoid freezing to death in the winter or getting beat up by some punk, then that’s okay with me, too. I pay a boatload of taxes every year, and I’d rather see that money go to that old geezer than some of the nonsense that the government spends it on.

    • I agree completely with your post Aldene.

    • Aldene you and I think alike. Judge not…… I myself have been in many situations some where i was productive and some not……it was hard after my divorce and 3 kids all with adhd and emotional problems to really find the energy to try to work on top of dealing with them on a daily basis. i had no help and live in a very rural area. I am much better off today and my children are grown and prospering with a lot of prayer and my constant persistent guidance. They have a stepfather who has been in their life for the last 4 years also and that has helped. Being remarried is something I never thought I would do but love is there for everyone they say……..I just cannot stand anyone homeless or hungry regardless of their situation. Some can climb out of the hole and then there are others who just can’t. I am not talking about major free handouts…Anyone who has lived off of snap benefits would tell you there is nothing major about that, not that i wasn’t grateful at the time because without it we would have starved. I just knew eventually when I had the kids where they needed to be I would be able to prosper again. I don’t regret my time spent with them because absolutely they needed it. I am just a person who has been on both sides of the fence and like you said I would rather spend tax money on those in our country who are citizens of the United States. You never know a person’s personal burden that they carry……

    • Amen Aldene! The well built tiny house creates a satisfaction of the first two levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs, not the top level. Security for a guy living in a tent is a very high priority. Just talk to any dude who has to live in one. Give me safe, dry and away from the elements. Add a shower and potty and you just built him his low maintenance castle. Thanks

    • Here here very good

  3. I agree with some of what you say but being someone on a very limited budget who fully intends to build a tiny house I do quibble a bit with your notion that if you can’t do it “right” by a certain set of standards you shouldn’t do it. I’ve lived happily and way more than just subsistence level satisfactorily in some very makeshift shacks and shanties over the years. Just because it starts that way doesn’t mean it stays that way. The Yukon was full of amazing houses that started life as a wall tent on a platform. As well as adding to the overall quality of the structure you may just find yourself improved by the doing. Starting with a basic box and even T111 siding (as long as it’s the exterior grade and properly protected from the elements)you can gradually turn it into a well crafted delight that will last.

    If your structure is sound and weatherproof, no matter how ugly or weird looking, you can do amazing things with it. Kind of like what you can do with a person who has the right attitude and that’s where I totally agree with you. Someone who isn’t ready shouldn’t take on a tiny house but that same ready person shouldn’t be put off by only being able to build a very basic box to start. If it’s better than the alternative and doesn’t harm others I don’t see why a person should hold out until they’re able to achieve an end state closer to perfection.

  4. Ryan,

    I must respectfully disagree with the theme and message in your post.

    As an advocate for affordable housing and the small house movement, as well as a former Realtor,housing is a human necessity, just as food and clothing is, and until the cost of housing gets in line with America’s new wage system of 12.00/hour if that, a large segment of our population remains at high risk for homelessness and a total dis-enfranchisement from society.
    This is a crisis which must be addressed and cannot be ignored. From the national scandal of our homeless veterans right up to the working poor, the matter of affordable housing must be addressed.

    I am not sure if working through hierarchy ego development flow charts solves this effectively. IMO we don’t have time to work through ego related issues when a homeless vet is living under a cardboard box somewhere.

    • Sue I’m actually in agreement with you. I think we may just be coming from two different sides of the same issue. I agree housing should be generally affordable, but I would instead come at it from the side of addressing the wage, healthcare, mental health, and support sides. I think if we address those issues I think the impact would be larger and the changes more systemic. I see that as a more sustainable way to get people housed.

      All in all, no one should be without a roof over their heads, as I mentioned I see tiny houses as a good way for us to get them off the streets and then transitioned to normal housing options.

      • Ryan,

        Personally, I don’t want to see the small house movement get side-tracked by political ideologies. There are still those who think that small affordable houses equal government subsidized housing and section 8, crime and blight. IMO coupling social justice issues can negatively impact the small house movement.

        I would like to see small house communities with gardens and powered with solar and turbine energy integrated into suburban and urban areas and treated like any other housing choice.

        • That sounds like a great idea. Back in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was running for president, he mentioned an intriguing idea: urban homesteading. He never elaborated, and I don’t think anyone ever acted on it, but it stuck in my mind. I can see groups of tiny houses popping up on industrial or otherwise blighted land that has been abandoned; the tiny homesteaders could own their little plot of land and have their own gardens. It could provide a solid start for young people who otherwise would end up stuck paying for an overpriced apartment and even for retirees, perhaps with some personal assistance if needed. Tiny houses could contain small retail businesses.

          • Local taxing bodies can use their powers of eminent domain to acquire land that in turn can be used for homesteading and small house communities.

            I envision houses under 300 square feet and costing under 20K powered with safe clean renewable energy. A community garden and greenhouse; perhaps chicken coops.

            Will this concept solve all of societies ills ? no, but it will provide affordable living and a sense of community.

        • I read your blog/essay a few times over. I don’t understand the logic however…many of the folks I know…good folks…poor folks see having a tiny home as a real step towards self actualization. I am a great admirer of Maslow…however …I temper the Maslows theory with a Rogerian slant that asks we extend unconditional positive regard to those we would help…
          If helping folks/ social justice is conceptualized as a “black eye” how can we as a community…ever hope to self actualize…to be our very best selves.
          The problem with the ideology that you’ve shared is that it’s more… more of the same/a demonization of the poor …
          it excludes and dehumanizes huge segments of the population sight unseen….
          How can anyone self actualize when their entire being is saturated with the insidious message inherent in all they do/see/hear in/on media that insists there is something so wrong with them at a cellular level normal folk must exclude them from community to keep community safe…
          The poor…those who are vulnerable…are not somehow tainted with criminality at birth…Many poor folks take great pride in their housing and do all they can to keep home and hearth in good repair…as they understand what it means to be without…truly without.
          If you enjoy Maslow than you know that meeting base needs is the only way self actualization happens…and then…there’s this too…who says a tiny house and safety isn’t really truly a person who has a low SES…idea of self actualization…

  5. I also worked for a non-profit, one that provided housing for over 600 low income and zero income people. They / we converted hotels into SRO’s and some of them were absolutely beautiful. What I learned, during that experience, further entrenched my belief that people value most what they work hardest for. So many of the buildings were abused and the residents acted out with a sense of entitlement. I do agree with what you are saying, that a tiny house is NOT the answer. If they are, however, even a small part of the answer I think that whom ever is going to benefit from them should help build them…..like the Habitat for Humanity business model. The build should integrate therapy, volunteering to build other’s houses, financial education, substance abuse management, etc….. If there is a low income tiny house building program out there that would integrate your directives and these ideas…….I would support it with my time AND money. For the record, I am a single mom living paycheck to paycheck and have found a creative (but very difficult) method of financing my build; sponsors. I guess what I’m trying to say it, where there’s a will there’s a way. Let’s bring back people’s wills….the rest will follow.

  6. Please take a closer look at the changing demographics of homelessness. Increasing numbers of people who have aged or injured themselves out of the job market are going homeless at a time when aid for those in crisis is diminishing. Many have lost their savings due to medical costs and have lost homes to foreclosure. These are not people who can easily re-enter the traditional job market, especially not at a wage sufficient to make up for the loss of any savings they might have had. Obviously, the longer term solution to work on the forces that are crushing people and leaving them no place to go. Shorter term, tiny houses are an important part of releiving the suffering of those who are homeles now, on a scale that average people can work to acheive. Opportunity Village Eugene, which I helped to start, has provided housing for over 60 people (up to 40 at a time)for less than the price of one single family house. Emerald Village, which is in the planing stages right now will provide larger (but still tiny) houses at a rent affordable for those who are living on a disability check, a portion of which will go to a savings plan.

  7. I think the culture itself needs a radical change. It’s appalling, given the information that is freely out there, how stupid many people are. “Single mothers” – they’re the stupidest. Many of them know about birth control and abstinence, but still somehow end up pregnant, after which Daddy takes off and leaves them to raise a kid alone. We’re supposed to look at these women as heroic, when in fact they were very stupid and now have a mess to clean up and expect government help in doing so.

    The rampant vulgarity, barbarism and immorality (yeah, old-fashioned word – a pity, isn’t it?) in entertainment doesn’t help people much when it comes to making life decisions, and yet many are influenced by what they see and hear. So good messages are mocked and buried by incredible mountains of filth. Nothing changes for the better. Today, 75% of black children are born out of wedlock and have no father for moral, emotional or financial support (worse, there are idiots out there who act like Daddy is unnecessary – heck, some out there believe that a mom and a dad are unnecessary to a family – you can have two of one or two of the other and that’s just dandy. Somehow. No Mommy for you, Karen, but who cares, you get two daddies! ;p ). And so the family structures collapse, the community structure collapses, financial structures collapse…all of that is happening RIGHT NOW, and that in part is why we have, as another poster above pointed out, a $12 buck an hour economy. As long as we have generations refusing to grow up, take responsibility for themselves, their children, their communities and their country, and try to re-structure a family away from time-proven traditional structures into circus sideshows, then the problems are only going to get worse, and no, tiny houses alone aren’t the answer.

    HOWEVER – I think tiny houses are a wonderful idea for veterans who need stable, solid places to live. There is a ton of blight in Detroit right now – beautiful old houses left to rot, 1 in 5 abandoned – maybe tiny house communities could be installed there, or ever better, those old houses could be restored and turned into condos for vets. They could be called Patriot Houses. I could get behind that, IF there was some provision that those houses would be maintained and kept clean during occupancy. We don’t want another Projects disaster.

    • Yikes! I hate seeing people grouped together by demographics or even by behavior. Every person is an individual and has his her own set of circumstances. Solidly middle-class people make mistakes, too; they just have the personal resources to reorient themselves. People at the bottom of the economic ladder don’t have the same flexibility; a single mistake can put them in serious trouble. I’m all for giving people a hand up, whatever the cause of their circumstances.

    • @ Blaster: your contempt for women is obvious. SMH

      My prayer for you is that you will realize we are all human beings passing through this world with struggles and challenges and as a society we are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

      ps: I am a single mother.

    • Such disdain! Tell us how you really feel! 😉 At least you see the validity of a tiny house for one geographic, there is no help with your bigotry though. Fortunately this is about tiny houses, not bigotry and it takes all types.

  8. As you’ve acknowledged that what you’ve written here is just the train of thought you’re on at the moment, I can say that much of it contains your personal judgments and some of it contains facts and fairly well assume that you will not take offense. I don’t find your judgments to be good or bad, as they just are. I do find that there are several judgments within what is written, several situations and scenarios of life that have been entirely overlooked, so that I am not able to take much of it as truth or give the piece as a whole much respect.

    For example, you wrote, “If you are one that earns, say $75,000 a year, there is very few situations that you should not be living your most actualized life.” This is a judgment, not a fact. Research the many situations those earning this amount, or even more, are facing that cause them to have difficulty living their actualized life. As you are experienced with working with homeless people and families with drug abuse issues, I would make the judgment that you’d have seen that these situations and scenarios stem from much deeper causes than what surface level shows. Are those who make $75,000+ immune from those same causes? I would claim that the facts would show that every income bracket includes those who suffer from more than just “very few” issues that cause them to keep from living a self actualized life.

    Who is to judge who belongs in what size house? Who is to say who belongs where and why? This is all hypothetical, not factual. Each person has their reason/s for choosing a Tiny House and far be it for anyone to judge if those are correct/incorrect, conducive to self-actualization or not. Self-Actualization does not look the same for each person. It looks different for each person. It cannot be fit into a box and given limits. For one to create their life worth living, they may find that a Tiny House helps them to reach that goal and it does not matter any of these statuses you’ve decided are suitable for Tiny House living.

    I appreciate hearing your point of view and the fact that you’re aware these are just your present thoughts. I prefer the facts, however, over judgments.

  9. Sue and Aldene, I AM a woman. But I am able to assess the stupidities of my own sex nonetheless. To hell with political correctness; that has inflicted so much damage on people who use it as a means to escape reality that it can no longer be indulged in a sane society.

    So Sue, you’re a single mother? How’d you get yourself into that situation? Where’s the father? Is he hopefully helping you with that child, at least financially?

    • How did I get myself into that situation, you ask ?

      I was married and widowed. Does that count or should it even matter.

      Shame on you for your condemning and judgmental spirit.

      • The Blaster sounds like some old bitty who has a bunch of her own demons that she can’t deal with. Heartless to humanity is NOT the answer or is it desirable.

    • From The Website Admin: Please keep on topic and things civil. Refer to our comment policy here: http://thetinylife.com/about-us/comment-policy/

  10. Some single mothers lose their husbands through death, some because of divorce, and yes, some never marry. My twice-widowed grandmother married her third husband to avoid going on welfare, and he turned out to be a child molester; my mother had to leave home at 14. There’s worse things in the world than being a single mother. A lot of single mothers are in that position to get their children out of harm’s way. Rather than judging from the outside without knowing the circumstances, why not focus on solutions? This kind of beyond negative rant is off-topic and destructive and doesn’t solve anything.

    I am not a single mother — not a mother at all, unless you count cats — but see where a tiny house could be a valuable asset to someone struggling to raise children without financial assistance from a partner.

  11. Maslow’s model posits that there’s a hierarchy of needs, i.e. that the more fundamental needs depicted at the bottom of the pyramid must be fulfilled before the higher levels can be pursued. Self-actualization is right at the very pinnacle of the pyramid: Maslow is saying that *all* other needs are more fundamental, and must be satisfied to sufficiency before people will devote themselves to the much more abstract and emotive ambitions that the capstone of that image represents.

    Now, the need for shelter is pretty low on the list. I hope you’ll agree that someone lacking for it isn’t going to be worried about the aesthetic implications of their surroundings so much as they’re concerned about finding a warm and secure place to sleep.

    It’s entirely possible that there are deep systemic factors that may have contributed to someone being in such a situation, but the situation is what it is regardless. If someone can only afford a tiny house, and you’re in a position to offer them one, refusing to do so on account of some lamentation about the state of the world-at-large does precisely nothing to address any systemic factors that may have put them in that situation. It just amounts to refusing to do what you can do to mitigate the immediate problem in the here and now.

    *Of course* someone who can *only* afford a tiny house should live in one. What’s else should he do? Have no home at all? Telling him that he can’t have one because he’s only going to use it to satisfy basic needs, and not to pursue self-actualization, smacks of snobbery and grudgery. “Yes, these houses are inexpensive, but you don’t understand: they’re not *merely* shelter, and they’re not *for* the poor.” But, of course, *he* needs to fulfill his fundamental needs *before* he pursues deep self-actualization; do you really want to deny him the stepping stone to get there?

    • Hey Asterisk,

      I agree with you. I recognize that when I mentioned that this is very much a chicken before the egg paradox and for some it’s the only what they may achieve such a thing. I guess a lot of my frustration is with the circumstances, the systemic issues and simply wanting more for folks. I don’t think we should deny a roof over people’s heads, but also I think the we can do better in that goal.

      Admittedly its a sticky topic and if the answers were simple, we wouldn’t have so many homeless today.

  12. Ryan;
    I do a lot of work with the homeless, trying to help, etc.. I also just sold one of my homes ($2.2MM). I am in full agreement. HOWEVER, those are your and my opinions, and the greatness of this country is that we can each have our opinion, and there is no absolute rightness. Others may try to use tiny homes for homeless villages (my opinion is that tiny homes would receive a black eye via the experience). I believe Seattle (maybe Tacoma) is trying it.
    What people fail to see is that homelessness is mostly not about not having a home. It is about mental illness, drug addiction, alcoholism, ex-convicts, recovering this and recovering thats. ANY home you make or help build for most of these people would shortly be destroyed.
    A tiny home is more of an extremely functional art-form–one which should be appreciated and cared for.
    If I didn’t have 5 kids right now I might make one. Instead, we just moved into a dilapidated rental on 2 acres of land. The kids can have all the animals they want, plus can be rough on the home without my getting all bent out of shape.
    I AM setting up some tiny facilities to help the homeless, however. But that deals more with indestructible (nearly) cargo containers which can be partitioned and quite useful. Also, we are planning on a 20-ft container converted into shower facilities for them to access and pay-to-use, so they don’t have to pile 20 people (trashing it in the process) into a cheap motel room just to bathe.
    Love your view points.

    • I love shipping-container houses, but they’re not all that easy to work with unless you’ve got welding skills.

    • And if I might add , Homelessness is NOT just about mental illness , ex cons , drug addicts. How about the kids phasing out of foster care ,or people who have serious health issues aside from mental illness that are on fixed incomes ,or what about those who were LAID OFF from a career they had for 20 years or more whose work has been outsourced over seas? It is not ALWAYS about addiction , criminal past , mental health why people end up homeless. THAT is in fact, part of the HUGE problem with society in general.Having the mindset that those things are the only way to homelessness.

  13. I agree with a lot of what you said, but I believe you are missing something. You say that poor people and homeless people should not live in tiny homes because it means that society has failed somewhere along the way. And I agree with that–but I don’t want to have to wait for society to fix itself before the poor and homeless have decent housing. I became disabled at age 33, and could no longer work to support myself and my daughter. I am a single parent, and have no family to help. I’m 47 now, and my daughter is 25, and she was struck with the same genetic disabling disease at age 19. We had a section 8 voucher for quite awhile, but even with that the housing options were lousy: landlords who wouldn’t fix basic things, like furnaces. We went through one Wisconsin winter using two space heaters because the landlord wanted to wait until spring so he could get a better deal on replacing the furnace. We’ve also lived in areas with drive-by shootings and people stabbing others, and where we had our home broken into. The Section Eight voucher program states that you can report any safety issues, and if the landlord doesn’t fix them, they won’t get paid. BUT if the landlord doesn’t fix the issue after you’ve complained about it, you HAVE to move, and that means coming up with another security deposit, and to switch utilities to a new place, and to rent a moving truck. If you don’t move, you lose the Section Eight voucher. So complaining ultimately hurts the tenant more than the landlord. Right now I am living in a 1972 mobile home that needs so many repairs: the subfloor is rotted so badly you can actually see the ground under the mobile home. There is virtually no insulation, and sometimes the ceiling lights work, and sometimes they don’t, which means the wiring is shorting out. While we are waiting for the appeal process on my daughter’s SSDI claim we are trying to survive on mine. $797.00 a month is not enough to support one person adequately, much less two. And I can tell you this: if I could fine a legal place to park a tiny house, I would MUCH rather live in a tiny SAFE home than in any of the paces I’ve lived in since becoming disabled. The tiny size would also make it much easier to take care of for me. This mobile home is small by most people’s standards, at about 640 square feet, but I feel like I can never keep up because all the chores take so much longer for me than for a healthy person. I love painting, writing, and reading, but I never have time to do those things. And reducing my carbon footprint would not only make utilities easier to afford, but would make me feel like I am actually doing something helpful and useful.

    • I have a very good friend who is disabled and she, too, wants a small handicap accessible house to live in which she can afford.

      I see no reason why this cannot be dome and in some cases, using up-cycled and materials from de-construction projects, which would reduce the cost, and modifications such as ramps and wider doorways should be no big deal.

    • Diana , You are absolutely right. The section 8 housing is so BEYOND flawed and I have had to live in places where I too was so scared. I would have my two sons sleep in the room with me.In the event that I would need to shield them from bullets flying through the windows or walls. But one more thing you forgot to add to all of your very valid points. Literally just as soon as you start working.Section 8 gives you NO time to get your feet on solid ground before raising the rent to market value. Which means that initial the rent could have been set at 120.00 a month based on ones income. But then that person gets an 8.00 an hour job full time employment. Well now the rent just jumped up to 800.00 a month.Then the deadbeat ex decides to pay childsupport a couple of months that he/she has not paid in two years. The rent is increased more.So now ,what are you supposed to do? Stay in an unsafe place paying AS MUCH in rent as a nice “normal” apartment? Now you are placed in a REAL sucky situation. How can you afford a moving truck , 1st months rent and a deposit? When NOW you are struggling to pay full market rent in the projects? THESE ARE THE REALITIES OF HOUSING THE POOR IN OUR COUNTRY. How would I know all of this? BECAUSE I have lived this hell personally. The way the system is set up is so screwed up.It gives NO REAL incentive to be honest about your situation or to break out of a vicious cycle of welfare.Yet , The GENERAL PUBLIC NEVER HEAR THE TRUTH about what it is REALLY like.

      • I know of what you speak; on a much smaller scale, my niece once got a small raise and ended up six dollars over the limit for health care coverage for her two daughters — not sure how the government figured she could buy health insurance for her kids on six dollars a month. This was before Obamacare. I’m all for government assistance, but sometimes I wonder if it’s a trap calculated to torment the recipients. I hope the tiny house movement allows some people to get out from under what seems to be a nutty, confusing system. My sympathies to your predicament.

  14. Hey, Pete R. you are perpetuating the myth that all poor people and homeless people are trash, and that is not the case. Yes, some are, but I have known Quite a few (myself included) who are intelligent, decent people who have been thrown curveballs, and have no support system.

    • Diana, Pete has apparently never seen videos of people that have lost jobs on WALL STREET that end up homeless.YES,IT DOES ACTUALLY HAPPEN and watch Youtube.IT is called, DOWNSIZING or SENDING WORK OUTSOURCING. So I guess that , I too am uneducated? I have a degree and can’t find work. I am also a two time cancer survivor with a multitude of health complications stemming from RADIATION THERAPY and CHEMO . What was supposed to save my life did.But it was a trade off to diabetes , a VERY RARE autoimmune disorder , arthritis , etc.. My point is , there are SEVERAL factors that unless you walk a mile in others shoes.Then shut the hell up Pete.You don’t know what you would or would not do or how you would handle the situation. Yeah really , I said it.I would LOVE to do what I originally spent 4 years in school to learn. But with my health issues. Umm , walking iron,crawling in confined space, climbing ladders and scaffolding. Well , let’s just say that what my mind wants.My body says think again.

  15. I would love to see Habitat for Humanity get involved in the Tiny House movement. Right now where I live the members do good work, but they’re limited in who they can help because of the cost of land and the high real estate taxes. They can only help people who can afford a mortgage (albeit a low-interest one) and the hefty property taxes that come with a conventional home. As previous entries illustrate, there’s a crying need for this type of housing.

  16. Ryan I would love to be able to help my son and his fiance and their small daughter be able to afford a small house. I have a home on a couple of acres of land. It is in a rural town and I am still on a limited income, however, in a much better position financially than I was when I was a single mother. Believe me I didn’t get married and have three kids thinking I would be divorced. My husband got in with the wrong people at his job and ended up heavily into drugs. Before that we were a very prosperous family…..Fast forward years later he is gone and I have remarried a remarkable man who is a wonderful stepfather as well. How could one build a home like this without it costing so much? Even a small basic shelter with a bathroom and small kitchen is better than them living in her old childhood bedroom with her parents. Which they are grateful for but they are tired of moving from my house to her parents house. I have finally got them to stick to a budget, they are on no government assistance and both work decent jobs. They could afford something small but just not anything expensive at this time in their life. I am just proud of them for working and being productive

  17. I think an interesting point would be the ramifications of zoning on tiny homes. I think it would really help if cities and counties would allow for plots to be subdivided to allow tiny homes on one lot and to be “off-grid” if comparable sanitary measure are in place. I agree with the article in almost every way, as someone who has seen the backside of habitat for humanity. I know that having a house is not the same thing as managing your money and moving up the hierarchy of needs. I think that local councils could encourage density and affordable tiny home ownership for those in-between section 8 living and the decision to be financially independent.

    I also think that there could be interesting notions of tiny home neighborhoods, with communal storage and work facilities, that are also supported by tiny schools and a local social worker. Essentially build a foundation and then move on to another neighborhood.

  18. I do feel education is very important. Not only is it a choice to live in a tiny house, but being sustainable is also very important. The basic needs are not enough if they do not know how to make the most of this decision or are forced to change their lifestyle due to any hardship. I enjoyed your post and felt you addressed many important issues. I do feel, however, that until people are ready to take back responsibility for their needs, and I feel food and water are two very important ones, they will continue to feel at the mercy of the system. Therefore, growing your own food and harvesting water are essential forms of education that also need to be addressed. I solute the movement to self actualization for all.

  19. I like what the Greek Philosopher Plato stated: “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

    Also, there are many Bible accounts where God specifically made arrangements for the care of “widows and orphans” (James 1:27) such as the concept of gleaning- In the February 1, 2011 edition of the Watchtower, page 15, the term “gleaning” is described as follows: “The Mosaic Law prohibited farmers from stripping their land of all of its produce. Instead, those who harvested grain were not to reap the edges of the fields completely. Those who gathered grapes were not to pick up those that were scattered or go back again to harvest those that were immature the first time. And those who beat the boughs of the olive trees were to leave the fruit that did not fall. (Leviticus 19:9, 10; Deuteronomy 24:19-21) The poor, the orphans, the widows, and the alien residents could then glean—or pick up—the leftovers of the harvest.

    This law regarding gleaning benefited all Israelite society. In the landowner, it encouraged generosity, unselfishness, and reliance on God’s blessings. In those who gleaned, it promoted industriousness, for gleaning was hard work. (Ruth 2:2-17) Gleaning ensured that the poor would not go hungry or become a burden on the community. It also spared them the indignity of having to beg or having to rely on handouts.”

    Being a Veteran and being Environmentally Ill, I am among a large number who live sub-standard and am grateful to have a basic micro-shelter to keep me from the elements and provide some form of living (I’ve been in here 2 years now). Out of necessity I have learned to do well with what I have and not complain about things I cannot have or cannot do. I’ve spent several nights in Wal-Mart parking lots, I’ve stayed with friends and I’ve stayed at cheaper campgrounds (I’d much prefer to stay with friends because it’s nice to be in the company of those we love and they offer great moral and spiritual support). I am ever looking for ideas to make life easier (reading a lot of homesteading blogs and watching DIY projects). Did you know grocery store’s Deli section often has buckets they don’t need- all you have to do is ask and they’ll give them up for free (if you don’t mind smelling frosting all the way home); I am beginning bucket gardening this year because food is very expensive and I have to stay as close to organic as possible (I’m portable so my garden has to be portable too). With homemade skirting the underneath of my trailer can be used as a root cellar. I have a homemade washing machine (made from buckets) that works very well, I’m learning how to fix up the trailer one piece at a time (it’s a little frustrating when the trailer butts in and tells me what I need to do next; reminds me of “Green Acres”). I keep clean even though I have no running water. When people ask about the thing I’m towing behind me they’re flabbergasted to find out that it’s my home; then I become a spectacle and people want to see inside (mind you the back ½ of the 100sf space is full of galvanized cans with storage supplies and stacks of homemade skirting); I finally started calling it the “plug-nickel tour”.

    The biggest hardship I, and others in similar situations, have found is that there are more and more laws prohibiting us from living/surviving the only way we can; I’ve more than once been given a time limitation at friends places, even out in the boonies (oh, and I always pay rent and electric, I just can’t afford most RV parks). And it’s harder when I have to park around town because I’m too exhausted or ill to drive for the day; safety comes second to county regulations for NO VAGRANCY (van dwelling is now included in that as is using a trailer in an unauthorized facility; many states are now demanding such people use RV Parks or designated campgrounds only). I’ve heard that police are even scouting Wal-mart parkinglots now looking to fine people sleeping in their vehicles or otherwise unauthorized units; to make sure I’m as safe as possible I walk into Wal-mart or call ahead and talk to a manager to make sure they do not have a problem with my staying there for the day/night and give them my license plate number and then I park where there are security cameras. Even in these circumstances I have found things to appreciate… I can go into the trailer for kitchen and bathroom use… I can usually sleep until I feel rested and am ready to move on… I can sometimes stretch and enjoy the view around me, or the sunrise/sunset.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t matter how rich or poor a person is; we can be happy or miserable depending on how we look at life; is our glass half empty (pessimistic) or half full (optimistic). We can always strive for more and never have enough, or we can learn to be content with what we have in whatever circumstances we are in (Philippians 4:10-13). The outlook is what we make of it.

    • In the process of continually learning the difference between my needs and my wants I recently sold my $1500 washer/dryer combo in favor of a bucket. I used to crack open my back barn doors and hook it up to a garden hose to wash my clothes but have come to realize that it is not suitable to my living space or lifestyle. I cannot use it in winter, some places I lived had really bad (gummy) water that would ruin it, and I didn’t use it often enough. So out it went, and I DIYd a 5 gallon bucket which is much more space friendly and is genuinely portable. I use Charlie’s soap and a few drops of silver colloid, use a holed plunger for an agitator and the sun to heat the water… and Voila- the cleanest clothes I’d ever seen! They’re much brighter and I can even feel the fabric (sounds weird, right?). So… I do not miss the washer like I thought I would!

      Also a garden hose or 2 buckets (a 5 gal. and 17gal.) do just fine for shower stall substitutes (I use organic soaps and am attempting honey water and apple cider vinegar as soap alternative). Also, homemade hand sanitizers work well (I’ve had them tested).

      Now in regards to housing… I find the cheapest places to go are Community Parks in remote areas. Where I am now I pay $160p/mo +$0.16kwh electric (about $25 p/mo for me) and I have to fill jugs of water at a Kiosk in the remote town near where I live ($.025 a gal or about $25 p/mo for me) because the water in this area is not safe to drink and I have a 5X10 storage locker for $35 p/mo for my seasonal items and other necessary extras (food supplies, clothing/coats/blankets), tools etc. I consolidate my shopping trips, doctor’s appointments, etc. into once a month to the nearest big town. That “big town” also has a Community Park as well but they charge $340 p/mo + $0.16kwh and $30 for storage (size unknown) and $0.25 gal for water at a Kiosk; they have more amenities than here but most of them I do not need… so why pay for what I won’t use?

      Also, an option out there for ones interested is filling out an application to be a “Camp Host”; they park their trailer/tiny home at the campground rent-free and earn some money during the working season. Camp Hosts normally get shuffled between campgrounds or State/National Parks every few months but some do stay parked in one place year round- it all depends.

      There are a few other super-nice people staying here that are living hand-to-mouth; each has their own story as to how they ended up living this way, but they are all fixing up their portable tinys as they can afford to.

      All in all, being poor doesn’t mean being filthy and dishonest and having money to spare does not mean cleanliness, honesty, happiness or security. Happiness doesn’t have to be conditional (“I’ll be happy when…”); as Abe Lincoln said: “Most folks are only as happy as they make up their minds to be”. Don’t wait for your circumstance to change… doing so is futile. Robert Louis Stevenson once said: “Life is not a matter of holding good cards but of playing a poor hand well.” Vivian Green stated: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Brian Tracy plainly states: “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you. In that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” And, one of my favorites, the Apostle Paul states in Philippians 4:11-13: “Not that I am saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be self-sufficient regardless of my circumstances. I know how to be low on provisions and how to have an abundance. In everything and in all circumstances I have learned the secret of both how to be full and how to hunger, both how to have an abundance and how to do without. For all things I have the strength through the one who gives me power.”

      What really accounts for the worth of a person? Matthew 6:25-34 answers: “On this account I say to you: Stop being anxious about your lives as to what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your bodies as to what you will wear. Does not life mean more than food and the body than clothing? Observe intently the birds of heaven; they do not sow seed or reap or gather into storehouses, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are? Who of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span? Also, why are you anxious about clothing? Take a lesson from the lilies of the field, how they grow; they do not toil, nor do they spin; but I tell you that not even Sol′o-mon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. Now if this is how God clothes the vegetation of the field that is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much rather clothe you, you with little faith? So never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to wear?’ For all these are the things the nations are eagerly pursuing. Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Keep on, then, seeking first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you. So never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Each day has enough of its own troubles.”

  20. Wow! Wish we all could sit down with a cup of coffee and discuss this in real time. There are so many faces to homelessness that it is a hard thing to discuss an “absolute” solution. I spoke with one person recently that thought if a person was homeless that they were suffereing from mental issues. I’ve talked to another person who thought if a person was homeless it was because they would not follow shelter rules, after all anyone who is smart will go to a shelter.

    But some of the statistics I am hearing now indicates that the majority of homeless people are actually working homeless. My feeling is that ANY person who holds down a job in this country deserves the right to be able to purchase a home that is affordable to them. Most won’t want a tiny house that is a trailer house but a next step up of 200-400 square foot house with a patch of yard and a garden for food production would be a real godsend for these folks.

    MY dad used to be a HUD director in a more rural region. He used to talk about the mistakes HUD made. The worst was “the projects” Inevitably the projects would be built in urban areas that were in warehouse type areas. No grocery stores to speak of. No jobs to speak of. Bad schools. they basically warehoused the poor… out of sight , out of mind. And this created generational poverty which brought along other social problems, so I am not a big fan of putting all of the homeless in a facility or an area or any single umbrella.

    Has anyone heard about the tiny house initiative up in Madison Wisconsin? Homeless people are signing up to participate and they are building their tiny houses along the same line as Habitat for Humanity. Everyone is putting in hours and helping on one another’s houses. they are self actualizing and I think it is a very important tool for the homeless. Of course anyone who isn’t interested doesn’t have to sign up. Even more powerful that it is a voluntary decision.

    Like anything, the tiny house is a tool, but it has to be the right tool for the situation and each person will be a different situation.

    Oh! almost forgot. Reagan might have mentioned the urban homesteading, but it was happening prior to him talking about it. It wasn’t land, it was derelict housing that people could get. Rules varied by city. It was the impetus in the Harlem renaissance. It also got people into what was waterfront ghettos in cities like Boston and now those areas have blossomed into very trendy upscale properties. It was also where we first started seeing warehouse resurrection into loft apartments. Probably one of the most significant grassroots urban renewal projects ever.

    • In my area we have Section 8 vouchers and some low-income housing, but we also have something they’re calling “Workforce Housing” – code for, “Let’s put the rednecks over there.” People pay 30 percent of their income, which I guess is a good deal, but it doesn’t really give them an opportunity to move up and out of the housing to a home of their own. With the high cost of land and high taxes, it’s really hard for people with modest incomes to move into their own homes. *** I read some years ago that segregating people by economic status is in some ways a fairly recent phenomenon; wealthy, middle-class and low-income people in small towns used to live fairly close to one another so they knew each other, and that lent a familiarity and a sense of empathy to interactions that no longer exists.

    • Small houses/communities should not be banished or segregated away from other housing options simply because planning and zoning committees believe that they would create blight or crime. People create blight and crime, not structures. This is all part of the slippery slope of thinking which says that lower income people are undesirables prone toward criminal activity and will ultimately take down property values, thus impacting those “hardworking law-abiding decent folks living nearby.”

      The simple truth is that it’s all about money. Banks make money from lending and how can the banks make money from small houses. Next up on the who makes money list are local taxing bodies who depend on property taxes to pay pensions and salaries, and then there are local builders who will fight tooth and nail to keep cranking out those cookie cutter 2000 square foot houses and keep any competition away.
      Small houses/small house communities should exist alongside other housing choices and not delegated to polluted industrial sites in remote locations away from transportation and services. By settling for this back of the bus mentality, we are not only selling ourselves short but we are reinforcing the idea that good people have money and stuff and those who do not or choose a more sustainable life are scarey and strange bad people who must be kept out of sight. This is part of the worship of consumerism that must be challenged.
      IMO it’s the worship of consumerism that created this mess in the first place.

  21. I think something else that needs to be looked at is people’s definition of what modest income is. People throw out figures lie an income of $35,000 a year or $75,000 a year, and say that is a modest income, and hard to get by on. But what about people trying to make it on under $12,000 a year, like a lot of elderly and disabled people? I don’t know what vets coming back from war live on, or people who lost their jobs during the recession, and are now not hirable because of their age, but something does need to change. I just don’t know anything about getting ordinances changed, but it seems to me there are enough of us who want these changes. If we worked together, and those who do know how to get cities to change their housing codes, I think we should organize and try to encourage cities to make the changes. Is there anyone out there willing and able to take charge, so we can put pressure on more cities to allow tiny houses? And (showing how little I know) could this be done at a federal level? HUD has minimum requirements, but cities can add to them, can’t they?

  22. I respectfully disagree. It is up to each person, on their own, to ascend Maslow’s pyramid and reach their own apex . It would be nice to say do this, don’t do that and here’s the formula ~ life is not such.
    I see Tiny Homes as an answer to homelessness in many cases, it eases and stabilizes the bottom of that pyramid .
    By saying that a person should have options, that is the goal for everything but often not a reality. Thus, it comes across as looking snobbish. Tinys are only for the middle class as everyone else has to get their act together first and thus we can put a higher price tag in them because folks (that belong in them) can afford them.

  23. There is no reason small houses cannot be made affordable using deconstructed, recycled and upcycled materials.

    • I so agree ~ and people can become involved themselves ~ this would be a win, win, win!

  24. This is what we are doing in Greensboro NC. I have seen a lot of hope since we started construction of our first tiny house! The homeless are playing a key part in the construction. Please visit our website. http://tinyhousesgso.wordpress.com

  25. There are Land and Housing Trusts that exist in some states in U.S. that have been used as stepping stones for long term private homeownership. It might be possible to create a Land/Housing Trust which has a mix of sizes of homes that people trade up in. Some Trusts have properties that are scattered throughout a city, not concentrated like projects. I could see a hybrid program, habitat for humanity like builds and then buy ins into the Trust, and then maybe further on to co-housing or private individual ownership. Our economy has changed for the worse over the past decade and affordable housing has been an issue, mostly badly addressed, for the past at least three decades. We need more innovative, humane solutions for safe housing. Tiny houses can be part of the solution, even if just temporarily for getting folks a safe, dry place to be.
    I live in a college town that has ignored the housing needs of college students.Tiny homes would be great for some students to be close campus.Dorm rooms are not much bigger than tiny houses anyway.

    • Excellent point Tracie. Housing costs are prohibiting many from upgrading from tent to “small”. This means that we must start thinking “out-of-the-box-tiny” for these folks. Thanks for bringing up the “land/housing trust” option. We will look into it!

    • Housing trusts are one option, and particularly in metropolitan areas it might be a boon. In my area Habitat for Humanity has built two homes on housing trust land; the owners pay the mortgage and the trust pays the real estate taxes, which means that the owners own the home but not the land under it. Taxes are prohibitive in the area, so it gets people into a home of their own, but is not optimal. When people have been renting for many years, it’s been my experience that they want as much independence as possible, and they want to own home and land. I’m in that camp myself, but can see the value in a housing trust arrangement.

  26. I just want to say that I kinda love how “Blaster” promptly shut up after Sue torpedoed her bigoted argument. Thank you, Sue. I dated a woman while I was stationed in Pearl Harbor whose Army husband never made it back from his second tour in Iraq. She’s a great one, but she wasn’t yet 20 when he died; their child knows his parents as mom and dad, because she was barely able to support herself after his passing, let alone their son, who knows her as an “auntie” (Hawai’ian style) who was a close friend of his big brother.

    P.S.: Ryan: “self’s” — should be “selves.”
    ~Grammar Gestapo ;-).

    • Hot Off The Press:


      1 in every 30 children are now homeless. Affordable housing needed more than ever.

    • Let’s hear it for compassion ! There needs to be more of this, instead of assigning blame. The blamers are useless anyway, IMHO, and would rather partake in a pointless game of kick the cat than get real about solutions. I don’t like troll-feeding but as a single mom, I will not sit by idly while single moms as a group are attacked.

      We do not know what burdens others are carrying through this world but try to imagine what their lives are like may be a good place to start, and that is why I support the small house movement. I know the cost of housing continues to create terrible problems for many people. Just today this rather disturbing news story appeared which stated that 1 in 30 children in the US are homeless. “http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/17/child-homelessless-us_n_6169994.html”. No child should be homeless and many are homeless because of the cost of housing.
      Affordable housing will help solve a lot of problems in our society and the economy.

    • LOL Grammar Gestapo! I know them all too well 🙂 It is true grammar and spelling are a weak point for me. I wish I was better, my school didn’t really teach grammar, I had one teacher that had us do spelling tests weekly. I learned more that year than any other time in my life. Now as an adult it’s a slow processes for me. That said, I know better than to use self’s

      • I gleaned relatively little from class; I simply read so voraciously throughout my life – particularly my formative years – that it’s all become second nature to me. I cannot properly discuss grammar and syntax as I think many would expect of me; I barely remember which parts of speech are which. However, I can still write well because through so much reading, it has become reflexively ingrained; veritably instinctive (although not technically incorrect, “instinctual” is like nails across a blackboard to me.)

        P.S.: What if somebody is woefully lacking in basic arithmetic and cannot solve your little equations? :-p.

  27. to say that one should achieve satisfaction of the four lower levels of Maslowe’s hierarchy before living in a tiny home is patently crap. particularly with regard to “sexual intimacy.” further, that you simply eschew the elitism inherent in this and other parts of this excessively verbose post is very convenient, but not very holistic. Your word count here is high enough to have dealt with world peace, ffs. You might as well deal with the inconvenient truths exposed in your tiny home philosophy. blech.

  28. I would love to have someone walk in my shoes. I had worked all my life. I am now sleeping one a friends couch temporarily. I’m hungry and homeless. Its due to bring stabbed 29 times by my husband who had mental issues I didn’t know about. This could have been avoided, but the police wouldn’t do a thing to help when he stalked me and threatened to kill me prior to the stabbing. I still suffer from PTSD. I was in the hospital 1 week. Was off work a long time due to my injuries. I lost the car, my home,etc. What mm little bit if personals I had were stolen. ID, Ss card, everything. Had CCC to resort to prostitution when got too weak from not eating. Its been 6 1/2 years, and I’m still out here. I got taken from my family at 16,I was sexually abused from 11-16. I’m now 49, I have no one. Churches don’t help anymore. I have had all my clothes stolen and have hardly anything. I don’t kill myself cuz I don’t want to go to hell.

  29. ho much will be the income can someone tell me please

    • Ya’ll I am 59,homeless & without an income in the middle of downtown Des Moines Iowa @ CISS Shelter, I don’t know what to do or where to go w/o all the red tape that goes with it. All I have is to fall back on is my ability to create art on paper. I so want to sell my art but I need help if anyone has any ideas I welcome them. I’ve never been in a position like this in all my life its scary & it can happen to anyone.

  30. As far as I know, for the homeless, tiny homes have been part of a temporary solution where the idea has been implemented and people who work with the homeless should know that it should be part of a transitional process, unless of course this is the way they want to live. Then a permanent option should be made available. The same goes for low-income individuals, if this can be used as a way to help them move up, whether they are actualized or not, then it should be. If they aren’t, they may still have the mindset necessary to improve their circumstances by using this method.
    As for those in debt; they would not be paying rent or a mortgage, therefore those funds would be going to paying off whatever it was that was causing stress and impeding their progress, this would give them a sense of accomplishment and possibility -improving their living situation.

    I think its also important to note that these small houses can range from 500 to 120 sq ft so not everyone would be living in the tiniest possible living space, small house options, as solutions, should vary in size because we all have different needs. Ideally land would be made available for this, the important thing is to make sure our government understands that the current housing situation cannot continue.

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