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Little Homes, Big Potential

Foundations not wheels. Sustainable not disposable.

Sitting on a 30x100 foot lot is a well built 305 square foot home. It is well designed, brand new and turn key. Costs are low with no driveway, a dual function washer/dryer, wall mounted electrical heating/air conditioning. The counters are granite, the windows are casement and the ceilings soaring.

This is the first version and it is on point, with some iteration it could be crazy efficient.

Could this be a part of Raleigh's affordable housing conversation?

Detroit's Small House

Detroit Small House with Granite Counter Top.

This home in Detroit will have 25 neighbors by the end of 2017, there are over 700 applications from potential owners. The owners will demonstrate the ability to pay taxes, insurance and utilities on the home, estimated at $350-$400 a month, for a period of seven years then they will own the home. A similar model can work in most midwestern cities with declining populations to curb homelessness and serve very low income families.

In rapidly growing cities with affordability issues near city centers there is a model we are working on to serve residents that earn just under median income.

The neighborhood in Detroit will consist of current homeless, elderly and students from local universities. The goal is to create a vibrant diverse community.

In addition to abundant land resources they have Rev. Faith Fowler. The fearless leader of Cass Community Community Social Services. The Rev. and her staff were helpful, informative and incredibly energetic at a way too early hour on a way to chilly fall morning. After requesting a quick meeting with the Rev. (as she is called by seemingly everyone) I was granted a small window of time, and she graciously went way beyond the time allowed.

To get an idea of the terrain and environment around this project I will simply mention the first four minutes of our time together.

The conversation started off on strange note (as I approached this with way to much experience with NIMBYism) I asked if there was any push back from the neighbors. She quickly pointed out there are 300 vacant lots and 500 abandoned homes in the immediate area, so no push back.

I followed that up with "How close is the project to transit lines?", she informed me that this is Detroit. They were a long way from any transit lines, but they do have a lot of used bikes. Then kind of looked at me wondering why I was there and told me why they are doing the project; to provide people who have nothing something.

The Rev. enlightened me to the real issues happening in this area of Detroit, it can be summed up by ...lessness. Homelessness, joblessness, hopelessness. Then the conversation flowed as we discussed community building, the benefits of quality build and design, the unintended consequences of the project and her planned book. The Rev. is inspiring.

Heres to ending ...lessness.

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