Reading all the articles lately about bay area families displaced by apartment fires, rent increases, and properties transitioning ownership makes me feel very fortunate that My Fiancé, Candace, and I decided to build our own Tiny House when we did.
A Tiny House, while technically a travel trailer complete with kitchen and bath, is designed less for camping, and more for semi-permanent occupancy. Tiny Houses can provide an ownership option for people who don’t want to make a long term commitment to a region, as well as an opportunity to develop sustainable, energy efficient housing. A Tiny House is also a very affordable way of develop communities with a density of 24 to 32 persons per acre, and this density could be increased by organizing smaller bedroom units around larger shared kitchen and sanitation facilities. Density could be comparable to apartment hi-rises and even SRO’s using standardized modular units designed to stack. Due to the portability and compact size of the Tiny House, areas where future development is threatened by sea level rise could serve as temporary lots, or they could be towed right into the back yard of your typical suburban home as an “Instant In-Law Unit.”
Affordable Housing is defined as being 30% of an individuals total income. A minimum wage worker on the peninsula would have to work Roughly 110 hours a week to earn just under $4,000 (before taxes) and that workers’ share of a rent for a two bedroom apartment would be $1300. This presumes that you are lucky enough to find a two bedroom apartment for $2600. A room in shared housing for $700 monthly would still require 55 hours a week, with not much left over to put aside for savings or for an emergency fund, let alone weather an unexpected financial blow. A Tiny House truly is an affordable option, but until there are clear codes defining them, existing building codes are modified to allow for their use, or a process is established for securing variances or camping permits, Life in a Tiny House is simply too good to be legal.
Aaron Castle blogs about his experience building, and occupying a tiny house at canander.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org