Making real progress in improving housing affordability for all citizens requires a commitment to a valid, alternative models for approaching the problem.
Looking at the American city, we see restricted public funding streams, an abundance of land and materials going underutilized, lots of people who need and want something to do, and the damaging effects of some not having a stable space to call home. We see the dire need for a sense of place, purpose, and belonging. It seems only logical then to better utilize the resources within our local communities to develop sensible and cost effective solutions.
The intense specialization of the housing industry has meant that the average citizen has little role of influence. But the persistent shortcomings of public policy has led a growing number of citizen-led actions, to propose their own innovative responses to address the situation.
The concept many local groups have merged around: a tiny house village.
By the turn of the century, they began to capture the heart of America, and the fascination around these little structures has only gotten bigger from there. The typical new American home has grown to approximately 2,500 square feet in size. In response to demand for a simpler option, the “micro tiny house” has emerged as a new category of housing (now defined in as a house of less than 400 square feet).
While tiny houses were first popularized as a novel means for downsizing from conventional housing options, there has since been growing interest around a more practical application in restoring a simple, accessible, and sustainable housing option.
People see a micro tiny house and think—we can do that, this is something within our grasp! The simple structures are at a human scale, allowing for a diverse range of citizens to once again engage in the home building process. A skilled builder can lead a group of volunteers and complete a micro tiny home in as little as a day or two.
But it's not all about the physical structure; it's also an attractive model because of the emphasis on building community. After all, we are talking about tiny house villages here.
Clustering the tiny homes in a village setting offers a number of social and economic advantages, where neighbors come together to share resources and make decisions about how their community is ran. This offers a stark contrast to the social isolation found in conventional housing options, which tend to rate efficiency over human need and desire; as well as the vertical organization of traditional homeless shelters where help is only handed down.
The Village Model is a community-based alternative that evolved from democratic tent cities organized by the unhoused. Seattle's and Portland's Dignity Village were early pioneers of this model back in 2000. More recently, the concept has been re-imagined by examples like Eugene’s Opportunity Village, Olympia’s Quixote Village, and Madison's OM Village—each offering a refined approach, as documented in the Case Study Matrix.
These initial projects have laid a path for a bottom-up approach to the provision of simple shelter within the benefits of living in community. Their successes have challenged several common stereo types around homelessness and poverty, and we now appear to be on the cusp of rapidly embracing the Village Model, particularly here in Texas.
Our Village Models
1. Homeless Village - No income to Low income
A community with micro tiny dwellings to shelter in, with shared Bathrooms, Showers, Laundry, Kitchen, Storage and Meeting Area,
2. Affordable Tiny Homes Village - Low income only
A community with tiny dwellings to shelter in, with all the amenities of a home in a "Tiny" home setting.
3. Special Vet Designed Tiny Homes Village - Veterans only
**All Phases will include Vets and those with special needs