This forum has been created for the Saratoga Tiny Houses Task Force to share information and ideas concerning the feasibility of mini-houses to reduce homelessness in Saratoga county.
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Auburn University’s architecture program runs the rural Studio program to design the best possible house for less than $20K. While their structures are larger than the tiny-houses and include both kitchens and bathrooms, they can be a useful resource for efficient space planning. News stories indicate that they have developed many pioneering innovations.
Their goal is to create a home for low income families that would be seen as highly desirable for anyone.
Their main site: (http://www.ruralstudio.org/initiatives/20k-house)
Descriptive news story: http://www.fastcoexist.com/3056129/this-house-costs-just-20000-but-its-nicer-than-yours
Rebuttal to the extreme gushing of the previous story.
Here are the programs that we’ve located
||Located in a rural area outside of the city
||Began as a religious initiative
||Started as a political protest, Site is particularly well documented.
||Began as a religious initiative, includes micro-businesses
||Complex battles with city agencies
||Two separate village projects underway
||On outskirts of city, site is more primitive than most, strong self governance
||Located on county land near a former dump, strong self governance, strong community support
||Begun as a tent village, it has moved to tiny houses.
The history and operational details of the Madison project are described in depth in the MIT dissertation.
Here’s the official web site for the project. It includes full information about the current operation along with site plan and photos.
Make it Rain, a nonprofit in Harleysville NJ helped an elderly Ocean City man transition from living in a tent to a tiny house. According to news stories, the house is currently in a state campground while looking for a permanent location.
At present, this appears to be a single entity with no plans mentioned to expand into a village.
Located in Ephrata, PA (about 30 miles east of Harrisburg), this business constructs tiny houses. These are intended for the general market — not specifically for the homeless.
They may be a useful resource for design ideas and technical details.
This is an example of a village in conflict with the city government.
Sustainability Park had been a community garden and tiny-house project located on land owned by the Denver Housing Authority. When they sold the land in 2015 do a private developer, the local supporters, Denver Homeless Out Loud protested, resulting in a police confrontation and destruction of the homes.
News story describing the confrontation
Statement by the protesters.
In December, the village reappears in a new location and using only tents. The new location is also owned by DHA but has been vacant for about 30 years.
Arcade Providence converted a failed three-story shopping mall into a multi-use facility. The first floor remains as retail space which the upper floors became mini-apartments, each between 225 and 300 square feet. This is not really a homeless project, but deserves attention for its creative reuse of an urban space.
The typical unit includes a bathroom and kitchen with refrigerator and microwave but no stove.
While this is quite different from the other mini-houses, it offers several innovations worth consideration:
- Reuse of an existing building, including preservation of historical facade
- Mixing of commercial and residential spaces
- Location in center of commercial district
- Rooms larger than most but still within the realm of mini-houses.
New story describing the Arcade
This group is investigating mini-houses for the Boston area but do not appear to have launched any specific projects at the current time.
Press release announcing their launch.
Liberty Homes is located in Raymond — a town close to Manchester NH.
It began as a single mini-house to prove the concept. After some political issues attempting to find a suitable location, it was welcomed onto a portion of an existing rural property. This one uses a converted cargo unit instead of building a custom structure from scratch.
The story mentions plans for additional units, but there’s no indication that they yet exist.