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Tiny House for Everyone

Including the Homeless

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This tiny house idea is a serious attempt to address the homeless and affordable housing issue.

In its basic concept the tiny house idea has been suggested for homeless shelter before, however in its present form the tiny house has a few serious issues and cannot be effectively used as a part of the homeless problem.

First the tiny house is usually built on a wheeled frame for mobility and therefore must be less then 8 feet wide to navigate the highways. Or alternatively built permanently on a piece of property.

Additionally some banks tend to shy away from financing on tiny houses. Although they will generality finance on trailer houses and RV's since there is an established secondary market for travel trailers and motor homes. Google says a combined 430,000 new travel trailers and motor homes were sold last year.

The is even cases where garden sheds have been used for homeless shelter. Since a 11 foot by 12 is about 8 or 9 thousand dollars this would be relativity inexpensive.

It might seem inappropriate to put a homeless person in a simple wooden structure rather than providing them a proper apartment. But clearly there isn't enough money and apartment buildings to accomplish a goal of every homeless in an apartment.

Plus there is the reality that many of the homeless are drifters and will soon want to leave, so an apartment isn't in their goals. Some are not capable mentally of dealing with the responsibilities of normal life, including the up keeping of an apartment.

Perhaps in their case a simple wooden rain proof shed-like shelter might be all they want or need. Not to say this tiny-homeless-house-idea would look like a wooden shed, but be about that 12 foot by 12 foot size. Although these Lowe's sheds don't look that bad if i was sleeping on the ground


 

The idea of a standardized tiny house

Right now when disusing this idea of a standardized tiny house construction that is easy to get a permit for - we are going to ignore the realty of how vastly hard it would really be to get nationwide acceptance for all code requirements.

But we will pretend that all these important issues, such city codes and neighborhood restrictions, have been completely solved and this style of tiny house foundation and construction is accepted across the entire country.

When the individual applies for a tiny house permit, and the code people do exactly what they do now if you asked to add a 12 by 12 room on your house.

What they currently do, is take a look your site plan, look up your lot location on their map and tell you the code setbacks and other requirements and ask you for permit money. We are going to pretend that, if a lot is big enough to allow a permit to add a 12 by 12 room, than it will be just as easy to get a 12 by 12 tiny home permit.

But we know in reality these code and permit issues will have a greatest impact of whether this tiny standardized home idea of an infill of affordable homes is possible and politically acceptable.

This political aspect is a huge hurdle, and will take professional activists and governmental officials.

So, again, we are going to pretend that all the government agencies have gladly approved this tiny house concept, and it can be assembled in any state and location in the United States. And, importantly, also qualify for government housing assistance.

So, who would live in a tiny house that is set up next to someone else s existing house? People rent rooms inside their own house to strangers since they both have a a mutual need, one for money and one for a place to stay. Renting a room on the property, but outside the house, would be better for the privacy of both parties.

There is even an internet tiny house community so the small living space idea can be for anyone that doesn't need a lot of home space. Perhaps they are a student and at school or with friends all the time. Or maybe they want to save money on rent, since the whole point of the tiny house is affordability.

But there is another huge social and economic impact to renting tiny houses on individual properties. . And that may have a lot larger financial impact then it first appears. If you look closely where the rent money is going now.

(Please let me skip down

I don't want to do math!)

Lets do the math on one real life situation in a Seattle neighborhood.

I'm sure if you are still reading this, the prospect of doing math is positively going to keep you awake and eagerly reading. Well, maybe. Sorry, but we're going to do the math anyway.

Some developers bought an old house in a neighborhood and tore it down and put up a 5500 square foot building that they managed to put in 19 approximately 80 square foot apartments, which is basically a bed and toilet in a room with no door separating the bathroom toilet for privacy.

Which the article was said to be legal since there was no cooking facilities in the room and everyone shared a communal kitchen.

Renting the rooms at 750 a month the landlord brought in 14,250 a month. I'm not sure from the article if electricity was included for the 750 but say it is. The landlord will also have to pay mortgage payments and taxes, water and insurance. Plus there will be some vacancy in the apartments between renters and cleaning etc.

So say he makes about 200 a month profit per renter. That's only a 45,600 d0llar a year income which isn't great in Seattle. Maybe he makes 250 a month each which is 67,000 and a more livable family income in Seattle .

In this article the neighborhood didn't seem overjoyed that 19 new renters were now in their neighborhood, but they seemed even less overjoyed with the cheap looking plain plywood building in a neighborhood of relatively nice older homes.

So using a little division math on some numbers that are reasonable, but still “guesstamations,” let's say 250 bucks for the landlord/owner. And 500 bucks for repair and expenses, money to bank mortgage for principle and interest, and the government taxes. A nice deal for the banks, government, and the building investor, since they get most of the money.

And in fact, is this specific instance, the original building investors that put up the building, quickly sold out for 1.3 million and what profit they realized will be invested in the next project they will try to make money on.

Ok. that's pretty much the way things are done now.

Now let's look at the financial case, with the same situation of 19 renters, in context of the tiny house neighborhood infill idea. Where the tiny house is set up on an existing lot next to an existing house in the city's neighborhoods.

In this tiny house case the 14,250 a month rent money goes to people in the neighborhood and not to distant investors.

Using the same numbers of 250 profit and 500 expenses 19 people in the neighborhood would have an extra 3000 a year in net profit, which could be a life saver for some low income elderly people.

But if we examine where the other 500 a month goes, the advantages to the 19 neighborhood landlords can go well beyond the 3000 a year net profit.

The most notably difference will be where the money from taxes and mortgage goes in the original situation compared to the neighborhood infill idea.

While the apartment builder has pay a new mortgage payment and to pay new taxes on his new investment, the home owner already has a mortgage and is already paying taxes on their property. If the tiny house with a standardized foundation is approved everywhere then it seems likely the local governments want to tax the tiny house as real property. But the land is already being taxed so only the house itself would be extra tax.

In addition there are a lot of tax rules for landlords that lower income taxes that could be of value to the homeowner. However rent is income and the government will want its cut of that, so taxes will have to considered.

That is some serious math trying to figure out those numbers so we're going to ignore those figures for now and move away from government math to the basic concept of this version of the tiny house.


(Back to Math)

In this simple drawing the two brown sections are two of the four wall sections that are bolted together. The walls “bay-window” out 18 inches in this drawing and could be increased to 24 inches. The reason for this design is a reduced material cost and to have as small foot print on the ground as possible.

Up higher, towards your torso where our wider arm movements are made, you need more room to be comfortable. Also tall ceilings make a big differences so the tiny house might be disproportionately tall looking. ( I'm not sure about using that long word?? this is sort of a first draft Ok?? lol)

the overhang space is also used for closet area and in this case the purple rectangle is the bed in both the lowered night time position and also in the daytime lifted up position into the overhang space.

The other sided of the this tiny house structure, the same basic shapes are reversed, so the lighter brown shape is now on the left and is the shower and bathroom. The darker brown shape would now be on the right and the bay window area a mirror and dresser like area


 

This drawing above shows the kitchen counter top in the bay-window area.




 

A modular concept design for a tiny infill house.

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