California, like many places in the country, is currently facing an issue regarding the availability of low-income housing. Unfortunately, this has left many individuals without an affordable place to live. Even for those lucky enough to find affordable housing, the options available are often scant, and many hardly offer ideal living conditions. Tiny homes present a unique solution for the housing crisis as an affordable, desirable form of alternative housing.
Many homeowners have been drawn to living in tiny homes due to their affordability and flexibility. Because of the small-yet-comfortable size of these cottages, they can often be situated in someone’s backyard as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), similar to a traditional mother-in-law unit. “One can set up their tiny home anywhere they can find someone willing to let them use their land to put it there,” says Justin Draplin, CEO and founder of tiny cottage manufacturer ECLIPSE Cottages.
For those living in a community of other tiny homeowners, there is a sense of community to go along with it. As everyone in the community owns a tiny home, they are united under a passion for sustainable and affordable living. “We have found that the residents in our ECLIPSE villages are willing to lend a helping hand when their neighbors are in need,” Draplin asserts.
One of the main perks of living in a tiny home is that it is significantly cheaper than even renting an apartment. “For our newest model, the Comet, monthly payments can be as low as $99 each month with financing,” says Draplin. “And, unlike most low-income housing options, maintenance costs on our cottages are low. Low-income apartments and houses are frequently associated with higher maintenance costs due to older infrastructure and amenities. The excellent craftsmanship of our cottages eliminates those costs.”
Another advantage is that tiny homes come move-in ready, giving them a “plug-and-play” usability. Cottages can be delivered to a tiny home village or one’s own property and leveled, at which point the homeowner merely has to furnish the home and have it hooked up to local utilities, should they not opt to go entirely off-grid with their cottage. No extra permitting or additional contractors are required to set up a new home.
Tiny home manufacturers have an extraordinary opportunity to work with non-profit or government organizations to provide a solution to those facing homelessness. Thanks to the affordable nature of the cottages — as well as the small amount of space each home requires — tiny cottage villages could serve as a wonderful affordable housing community.
Tiny homes are also an extraordinary way for someone to live a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle. “Every cottage we build is equipped with up to 8kw of high-tech solar power technology,” Draplin explains. “With the option for a lithium-ion battery backup, our cottages can produce more power than they consume, permitting them to comfortably live off-the-grid with these optional modifications.”
However, even if homeowners decide not to go entirely off-grid, they can expect substantial savings on their utility bills. “Municipal power, water, and waste are some of the most expensive costs a homeowner can experience,” says Draplin. “In an ECLIPSE village, homeowners only have to pay a low monthly village fee, compared to the several separate bills they would have to spend on an average home.”
Not only are tiny cottages an affordable and practical alternative to traditional low-income housing, but with some assistance, they pose a potential solution to housing problems. Thanks to low monthly payments, reduced utility costs, and easy and flexible set-up, tiny cottages are an ideal solution for those who need quick and affordable housing.