Over the past few years the tiny house movement has gained some serious headway as more and more people choose to bypass the debt trap of having a mortgage for an unnecessarily large home, and opt instead for the coziness of a tiny, debt free home.
In case you are unfamiliar with tiny homes, you need look no further than the name to understand – they are small structures designed for living with less. Ranging from 100 to 400 square feet, they are created to maximize space and storage while minimizing cost and environmental impact. Often tiny homes are built on skids with wheels in order to bypass many laws that prohibit structures being built on land that already has a house on it (i.e. a backyard).
As the idea of having a tiny home is becoming more popular, many people are beginning to see these structures as a potential solution to many of the issues we are facing today, such as: homelessness, poverty, the refugee crisis, and not enough low-income housing or homes for First Nation peoples. These houses also appeal more generally to people who, understandably, dislike the idea of spending their entire lives paying off a mortgage.
In the past we have written about entire tiny home neighbourhoods which have been built exclusively for homeless people, as well as other stories about how people simply wanted to put their hard earned money towards something other than a mortgage (such as student loans or travelling). You can see those stories by following this link.
Tiny Homes, Big Hearts
This project was started by Brice Royer, a longtime sufferer of terminal stomach cancer. He had posted an ad on Craigslist in an effort to find someone to cook for him at home and, when he received a response, was surprised to learn that the interested party was a homeless mother named Francesca Murray. Royer was so moved by her generosity that he arranged for her to have organic food delivered to her shelter weekly, and when he found out she was sharing that food with 6 other women he decided to take further action and assist Francesca in a more substantial way. That’s where the idea for Tiny Home, Big Hearts came from. The group currently has a fundraiser in place to try to raise enough funds by Christmas to build a $20,000 tiny home for Francesca and her daughter, and give her $5,000 to support herself and her daughter while she gets back on her feet.
If you would like to read more about that project, or donate to Francesca’s cause, please click here.
Why Are Tiny Homes Important?
The implementation of tiny homes as a means to help homelessness and poverty can be a wonderful action for society as a whole. We are also a society suffering from excess; at least in North America, people are spending way outside their means in an attempt to fill a void with luxury and possessions. As the late, great comedian George Carlin once said, however: “Trying to find happiness by gaining possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.”
Opting for a tiny home allows us more freedom to vote with our dollars and support new ideas, projects, and local farmers. It allows us to do more of what we love to do and potentially even makes it possible for some to retire early. Many of these homes are designed to be completely self sustainable, and can easily be powered with a few solar panels. Most importantly, tiny homes serve to show us that we can be quite happy with having less. Although they may not be entirely practical for everyone, they provide some great insights into what we actually need.