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The AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community (HCD) tracks housing issues and develops relationships with industry stakeholders to encourage and promote safe, attractive, accessible, and affordable housing for all Americans.

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Emergency and affordable housing solutions

  • 1.  Emergency and affordable housing solutions

    Posted 10-17-2017 17:25
    Dear Governor Brown,

    With current wildfires destroying over 3000 housing units in an area already impacted by a housing shortage and lack of affordable housing it is time for state recognition of Tiny Houses on wheels as a valuable solution to the recovery efforts. I request that your office support legislation to make tiny houses legal as ADUs on ALL single family residential property in the state, by right, so that communities can stay together during the rebuilding process.

    This legislation must allow tiny houses to remain after recovery, to add to affordable housing stock, and must establish them as below market rentals, prohibit short term rental, and limit rent increases in the future. A tiny House can be built in 3 weeks and house 2 fire victims, and they are much more functional, durable and aesthetic than a FEMA trailer.

    Thank you

    David Ludwig
    Architect
    Sausalito
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  • 2.  RE: Emergency and affordable housing solutions

    Posted 10-18-2017 17:36
    I think this will require thinking outside the box as families find that rentals are unavailable or too far away from school or work, never mind the cost. The tiny house and it's sibling, the manufactured home, trailers, tents can help fill the void. A Polish Architect has come up with a viable alternative that could be used which is a modular house made of paper. Here is the link.
    http://scienceinpoland.pap.pl/en/news/news,415410,a-quiet-place-in-the-polish-house-of-cards.html

    R O B E R T  M E D A N ,  A I A

    1 9 3 6 L O S  A LT O S  D R I V E
    S A N  M A T E O , C A  9 4 4 0 2
    T 6 5 0 . 5 7 7 . 8 4 7 7
    F 6 5 0 . 5 7 7 . 8 3 1 3
    w w w . m e d a n a r c h . c o m 







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  • 3.  RE: Emergency and affordable housing solutions

    Posted 10-19-2017 09:23
    I appreciate the creativity that goes into Tiny Houses.  However, why not just use manufactured/mobile houses?  They are readily available and guaranteed to meet code.

    --
    Edward J. Shannon, Architect
    T.515-779-9050



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  • 4.  RE: Emergency and affordable housing solutions

    Posted 10-20-2017 17:40
    Well... mobile or manufactured homes are cheaply (substitute inexpensively or value-engineered, your choice) constructed, expensive to heat, expensive to cool, difficult to move, tend to literally warp after a few moves, shunned by neighbors, and require special zoning just like tiny homes.

    For those with a nomadic lifestyle, tiny homes are often welcome in RV parks.  Better question is why not a quality built travel trailer?

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    R. Ashley Coco AIA
    Architect
    Coco & Coco
    Midland TX
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  • 5.  RE: Emergency and affordable housing solutions

    Posted 10-23-2017 17:44
    What about the Airstream trailers? The BaseCamp's price is $34,900 and sleeps two. The Airstream Pendleton is $115,000. It is 28-foot long with a sleeping capacity of up to six. The mid-price Flying Cloud starts at $63,900 and can sleep up to five. They are considered the Cadillac of trailers with riveted aluminum panel construction.

    Sent from my iPad


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  • 6.  RE: Emergency and affordable housing solutions

    Posted 10-20-2017 17:43
    The current state of manufactured housing is dismal. M\Poor quality design and building. Ever seen a FEMA trailer?

    Tiny houses are a completely different breed of living environment. Rather than turning to the corporate failure of manufactured housing, lets turn away from the predictable toward locally built innovative structures from small companies doing quality worK. These tiny houses should fill an immediate need and stay around after the recovery to fill a different long term need for affordable housing. NO one has ever wanted to remain in a FEMA trailer any longer than necessary. This is the point.

    The recent disasters of hurricanes and fires have put massive pressure on our system of established infrastructure. We need to have in place a procedure to allow quick response with quality environments. As a culture, we need to recognize that access to affordable housing is the next great challenge of equality. After race and gender, affordable housing is next in line. It is my belief that housing will never be made affordable using the tools that have been used in the past, which all include traditional elements of the corporate business model, most notably PROFIT. By allowing the building and placement of individual, local created of tiny houses as ADUs on ALL residential property, we will eliminate the disproven profit-driven models and empower ownership-based self creation and care. After the recovery, these units should be retained as a critical element of new affordable housing, and their use and rental must be limited to rents below market value, with short term rental prohibited, and with rent increases limited by the cost of living. And what about the NIMBYs? Well, it seems difficult/impossible to claim the “harm” that might be done by the placement of tiny houses to the “established fabric of a neighborhood", when the entire neighborhood has been destroyed by natural disaster.


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  • 7.  RE: Emergency and affordable housing solutions

    Posted 10-23-2017 18:43

    I actually agree in principal with the tiny house premise put forward and would like to see more communities embrace them; however, for your message to truly resonate, Mr. Ludwig, you need to present an accurate argument.

    1. "The current state of manufactured housing is dismal. M\Poor quality design and building. Ever seen a FEMA trailer?" Actually, the current state of pre-manufactured homes is the best it has ever been. There have been huge advancements in energy efficiency, pre-manufactured homes are built in factory, assembly line settings where quality control is strict and workers more skilled than single family "pick up labor". Additionally, materials are protected from the elements unlike traditional stick built homes. You may well have meant mobile homes but even there the above applies. Moreover when you question the quality of a FEMA trailer you need to familiarize yourself with Federal law which specifically prohibits FEMA from providing permanent housing so the trailers are disposable by design. This was a huge issue after Katrina when several companies stepped forward to offer designs that were cheaper than FEMA trailers and permanent housing. Because of the permanent part, FEMA had to reject the proposals.

    Why knock per-manufactured homes? With  good design and detailing a factory could produce tiny house quicker than any other method for a fixed cost with quality control which would be non-existent in a disaster zone. To forward your tiny home idea I would suggest embracing all comers for getting these homes to the families in need.

    2. "As a culture, we need to recognize that access to affordable housing is the next great challenge of equality. After race and gender, affordable housing is next in line." I think you are mixing apples and oranges: disaster housing and "equality". But accepting they are somehow the same, do you mean economic equality? If so, the top three indicators that someone is going to pull themselves out of poverty and have "economic equality" is a. graduate high school. b.get married but hold off marriage and a child until over 21 and c.  have a full time job. All of which an affordable home helps but is not integral to at all. If you don't mean economic equality what kind of equality do you mean?

    Moreover tiny homes serve a niche market. While I strongly support the idea of home ownership, a 600 sq. ft. home may, in the short term after a disaster be a godsend, it would be a less than an idea solution for a family. Tiny homes are affordable because of their small square footage but most, on a square foot basis,  can be a good bit more expensive than larger homes. A true solution needs to address the needs of families as well as couples and single folks. (and yes, I know if you watch Tiny House Nation there is always the family with a few little kids choosing to dramatically downsize. I would offer this is the exception not the norm AND let's see how that family is enjoying the tiny house in 5 years when the kids are teenagers).



    3. " It is my belief that housing will never be made affordable using the tools that have been used in the past, which all include traditional elements of the corporate business model, most notably PROFIT. By allowing the building and placement of individual, local created of tiny houses as ADUs on ALL residential property, we will eliminate the disproven profit-driven models and empower ownership-based self creation and care."

    For  anyone to try to argue profit driven models are "disproven" is flat out silly. What local companies are you suggesting will rush in to build tiny houses without profit? Companies that want to be out of business by the second house? Or are you suggesting that the folks who have just lost everything to a natural disaster are gong to buckle down and build their own homes, regardless of any actual experience in construction? (see #1. pre-manufactured homes and quality control). Or are you suggesting a quasi governmental or charity group like Habitat would build these homes? If so, where does the money and manpower to build hundreds of homes come from?

    4. " By allowing the building and placement of individual, local created of tiny houses as ADUs on ALL residential property, we will eliminate the disproven profit-driven models and empower ownership-based self creation and care."

    This needs to be thought through. Land is not free and even neighborhoods devastated by natural disasters have land value. " Well, it seems difficult/impossible to claim the "harm" that might be done by the placement of tiny houses to the "established fabric of a neighborhood", when the entire neighborhood has been destroyed by natural disaster." Not actually true. Many homeowners, especially in more established or affluent neighborhoods, have insurance so they will be rebuilding. How do the tiny home folks get a homeowner, who is rebuilding their 4000 sq. ft. home to sell off part of their 1/4 acre? If they don't sell off but just rent the land the tiny house person will always be paying a mortgage of sorts.

    "rental must be limited to rents below market value, with short term rental prohibited, and with rent increases limited by the cost of living". Ok. I live in my 4000 sq. ft. rebuilt home. What on earth is the incentive I have to put a tiny rental house in my yard when I am restricted to BELOW market rates? I won't recoup my investment in the tiny house for potentially decades at that rate plus I may not be a NIMBY to a tiny house but I may well be a NIMBY (on my own property) to what amounts to section 8 housing.

    Again, I think the basic idea of tiny houses filling a niche after natural disasters and even as a path to affordable housing is a good one but it needs to be more seriously considered. The overall proposal seems to have two similar but disparate goals: disaster housing and long term affordable housing. Acknowledge the different paths and associated laws both need to succeed. Businesses want to make a profit. People want to live in homes that fit their families. Homeowners want to know if they take a risk and build a tiny house rental unit they will, at the very least, see their investment repaid. Personally I think the lesson of Katrina is a good marriage of several ideas. Companies came forward with small accommodations that were permanent housing that made the manufacturer a profit but violated Federal, not local laws. Change the Federal law, allow FEMA to give out tiny houses that are permanent. Allow neighborhoods to have flexible zoning but at the very least restrict rentals to market rate so there is no price gouging in a disaster.

    I think this is just the beginning of a needed conversation.




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    [ Nea May] [Poole]
    [Principal]
    [Poole & Poole Architecture, LLC]
    [Midlothian, ] [Virginia]
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  • 8.  RE: Emergency and affordable housing solutions

    Posted 10-24-2017 17:54
    I love the space efficiency and creativity that goes into tiny homes. And they look really nice by themselves in an open wooded landscape.  However for me, they would lose that charm if clustered development style. I'm sure hobbits would disagree.

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    William Figdor, AIA
    Art & Architecture, LLC
    Maplewood, NJ
    Figdor@mac.com
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  • 9.  RE: Emergency and affordable housing solutions

    Posted 10-25-2017 10:30
    I grew up in a typical 2 family home on the East Coast. 1,200 sq. ft./floor, but the unfinished, dirt floor basement and attic provided an indoor playground for us 6 kids!  Grandparents lived upstairs. This housing type, built in the late 1800's, served the influx of immigrants well. Parents could rely on grandparents to help with the kids; traditions and histories were carried on and as their parents became infirm, family was close to give care and comfort. Eventually, the extra unit was available for rent and this became a secondary source of income for families struggling to meet college expenses for their kids.
    Maybe it's time to revisit this model as home sizes and prices are keeping many from homeownership.

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    Vincent Oles AIA
    Architect/Owner
    Vincent Oles Architect AIA, llc.
    Salt Lake City UT
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  • 10.  RE: Emergency and affordable housing solutions

    Posted 10-26-2017 17:37
    I've been thinking about this and have seen examples of cooperative housing and, of course, the ever popular small home. Seems to me that this is a direction we need to go based on need for affordable housing, sustainability, energy efficiency, building families (insert your personal definition of what that means) and community.defined)



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  • 11.  RE: Emergency and affordable housing solutions

    Posted 10-27-2017 07:32
    I agree Vincent.  Having a well designed home that you can migrate around for the different seasons and can accommodate extended family is a historic model that worked.  Having extended family living with you today is not something most people want.  What a shame - that is what makes family.  When you lose the family, society dwindles.

    I just got back from Peru.  They have no welfare system there - you work or you do not eat and you take care of your family.  I saw so many young girls in the square with their grandmother.  I almost no homeless people.  However, I noticed that there are lots of people working for the government - mainly in policing and cleaning up.  I felt safe and the cities were clean.  

    Edward J. Cazayoux, FAIA
    EnvironMental Design



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