Monday, October 19, 2015

Housing as a Human Right

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control
This pretty much sums things up.

Friday, October 2, 2015

'Tiny Houses' We Are Not (but we like them)

These are not Tiny Houses. Tiny houses have their own bathrooms and kitchens, they feature plumbing and electrical service and often use propane appliances. Some are built on trailers or are classified as recreational vehicles; others are placed on fixed foundations and built to local codes, where allowed. Typically tiny houses may range from under 100 square feet to a few hundred square feet. Material costs for a DIY tiny house often start at $6,000 to $7,000 and can go much higher.

The tiny house movement is here to stay; it is equally attractive to people with money who are interested in downsizing, simplifying and reducing their environmental footprint, as well as folks who simply can't afford the scale and style of housing society says we 'require.'

While there are community and economic development reasons to create both physical and regulatory space for tiny houses, we also see a value in more economical options. The structures we'd like to experiment with could best be thought of as 'detached guest rooms.' They don't have their own kitchens or bathrooms, but those amenities are shared to create efficiency. The primary purpose of the personal shelter is to provide privacy, personal safety and security, along with protection from the elements and predators.

There are great examples of tiny houses and villages, including Quixote Village in Olympia, WA. The net cost per unit (accounting for cash, infrastructure and in-kind investments) exceeds $100,000.

A more local example intended to house individuals experiencing homelessness is the Boise Tiny Houses for the Homeless project.