Tiny homes—homes that are under 500 square feet—are illegal in most areas of the United States. The city of Portland, Oregon, is about to change that. TDN.com news reported on Aug. 31, 2014, that Portland and Multnomah county officials view tiny homes as a solution to the homeless population. They are currently working with the public schools and other county agencies to see where land can be acquired or donated for tiny home communities.
If this project passes local and county governments, people earning less than $15,000 a year would be eligible to live in one of the tiny home communities for the homeless. The goal is to get people off the streets and into clean, attractive, and affordable homes. Josh Alpert, spokesperson for Portland’s director of strategic initiatives, says that it is not a question of if, but when tiny home communities will become a reality. Portland, Oregon is tiny home friendly. Dee Williams brought the tiny home movement to Portland several years ago when she decided to move out of her traditional home and into a tiny home. Williams has been featured in national magazines and talk shows.
Boneyard Studios, in Washington, D.C. shows what a tiny home community would look like. Although no one is allowed to live there, the studio shows how well tiny homes solve an affordable housing shortage.
Spur, Texas, is another city that has boldly ditched the 500 square foot minimum. Now, anyone with a tiny home can legally put one on their land. It is a huge step in the right direction. Recently, Jeremy Henley relocated his 120 square foot tiny home to this town of 1,000 residents.
Putting tiny homes on public land to reduce the homeless population and increase affordable housing options makes sense. Getting people into clean, safe, attractive housing benefits the community at large and increases property values. Should everyone start to downsize to tiny homes? No, living in under 500 square feet has its challenges. But every city should consider whether publicly funded tiny home communities are a viable solution to an every-growing homeless issue.