Rent-to-Own Tiny Houses for Low-Income Detroiters

…The houses will range in size from 250–400 square feet. Each house will look different, but will have similar amenities. This model house, seen above, is 300 square feet, and they’ll be building a deck on the back of it for additional living space.

Ford has contributed $400,000 to this project. A 300-square-foot home would cost about $48,000 to build, but that figure could decrease as more are built.

Residents will need an income to qualify for the project. A 300-square-foot home will cost $300 in rent each month, plus heating, which should only be about $32 per month in the winter. They’re using a rent-to-own model, with tenants graduating from a rental lease to a land contract, with potential full ownership rights of the home after seven years.

This is a first of its kind project in Detroit. Cass Community Social Services first worked with the city on appropriate zoning. They’re unsure of what the homes will be worth in the future, as there are no comparable properties in the area. There are over 300 vacant lots within a mile radius of this neighborhood, so they’re looking at this project as repopulating the neighborhood…

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Small Passive House Can Withstand Earthquakes



This small home on wheels is smart, modern, incorporates passive design principles and was even designed to withstand earthquakes! For those who love the idea of getting into an affordable home but are afraid that a tiny house on wheels would be too small, this may be the ideal solution…

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Prefab Homes Made in California

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britespace-avava-systems-4-jpg-650x0_q70_crop-smartunknown-2California-based AVAVA Systems is one of these companies offering high-end, flat-pack, prefabricated small homes with an emphasis on ease of assembly, sustainable materials and seismic strength. The company’s flagship product is the Britespace, which comes in three sizes: 264, 352 and 480 square feet. They all use AVAVA’s innovative framing system, which is not only strong but is relatively simple to put together, taking only a matter of weeks, rather than months, to completely build the home. Incidentally, the system was first successfully tested by founders David Wilson and Michael Kozel during the Burning Man arts festival in 2005, to show that it could be a better alternative to the 150-year-old stick framing system…

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The 2,500-Mile Across-USA Expedition of Bernie Harberts and His Mule Polly

333Hi Lloyd,

Last we spoke, I was telling you about the “Lost Sea Expedition.” It was just mule Polly and me traveling across the U.S.A. in our wagon. We were looking for stories behind the Lost Sea, the ancient seabed that once covered the Great Plains.

I filmed the journey without a film crew, support vehicle or sponsor. I charged my camera gear off the solar panel bolted to the wagon roof. Now, that footage has been turned in to the “Lost Sea Expedition” TV series.

First, a bit about the journey:

As I bumped across the U.S.A. in my wagon, I folks what they knew about the Lost Sea. Early on, a Lakota elder told me about “buffalo stones” — fossils from a marine creature called a baculite. From there, the story took off in all directions. I thought I was looking for a vanished sea. Instead, I unearthed an all-American web covering topics as far ranging as the Ogallala Aquifer, creationism, evolutionism, prairie fever, and Depression-era horse breaking.

Who knew that diving in to the origins of a long-vanished sea would turn in to a journey to the heart of America?

2,500-mile wagon route across America

I think I dove so deep in to the fabric of America because I went so small. I traveled in the manner of our ancestors, men in wagons with time and high hopes but not much money. I built the wagon myself. It was so tiny, I could heat it with a few candles and my mule Polly could pull it alone. It was big enough for my film gear, a few clothes and some food … just.

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A visitor checks out the wagon. At just over 30 inches, it soon became clear why my friends referred to it as the MRI machine (or the porta-john). Damn, I could barely roll over in that thing, a task that got tougher and tougher the higher I piled the sleeping bags!

IMG_8712.jpegOut there rolling across the land, I learned that the smaller you travel, the more you expose yourself to the weather, the heat, the cold, the ups and downs and the people you meet along the way. Because my mule needed to eat and drink every day, I was limited in how far I could travel every day. On average, I went 8 to 10 miles before knocking off for the night.

That meant every day, wherever I was a few hours before dark, that’s where I spent the night. That also meant I knocked on a LOT of doors asking my well-prepared line, “Hi I’m Bernie and this is my mule Polly. Do you have a place we could camp for the night?”

And that, that dependence on strangers met along the way, that documenting all weathers, animals and climes, is what gives the “Lost Sea Expedition” such incredible insight in to America.

I made the “Lost Sea Expedition” for all those people who dream of adventuring, running away, or just taking a break from life’s responsibilities. I made this series for all the folks I met on the road who said, “Man, I’d love to do what you’re doing but…” and then they’d give me reasons why they couldn’t break free. Hopefully, it will inspire others to finally break the bonds of what’s keeping them back.

Plenty more about the Lost Sea Expedition at www.lostseaexpedition.com.

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Dave Koszegi and His Tiny House on Wheels

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Dave Koszegi, his wife Erin and their children Julia, Francesca and Matteo were on their annual Hornby Island, BC camping trip two summers ago when Dave happened to read Lloyd Kahn’s Tiny Homes on the Move. When the family saw the photos of Derek Diedricksen’s tiny house on wheels, Dave and Erin realized it would not only be a perfect addition to their overcrowded Volkswagen Westfalia camper van, it would also a great family project…

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Natural Building Colloquium – High Desert, Southern California, Oct. 17–22, 2016

5438538_orig-2Focusing on the West Coast and Southwest, Quail Springs is an educational and land stewardship nonprofit organization dedicated to demonstrating and teaching holistic ways of designing human environments, restoring and revitalizing the land and community, and facilitating deeper understandings of ourselves and one another through immersive experiences in nature. The 2016 Colloquium organizing team consists of the whole Quail Springs team, Sasha Rabin*, Tammy Van, and Rebekah Hacker.

The gathering will give focus and priority to the building and builders of the west coast and southwest, U.S. We ask that all people attending the colloquium have some experience with natural building. This is not the event for the novice builder. That being said, we value the fresh eyes and perspectives, and enthusiasm that comes with a newness to the field. We will strive for a balance of experienced attendees, while also encouraging the next generation of builders…

*Sasha’s beautiful cob house will be in Small Homes.

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Fully Furnished Tiny House Built in France

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This beautiful house on wheels may look tiny, but it can easily fit a family of three thanks to its space-saving interior design. French tiny house company Baluchon designed the ultimate home for wandering minimalists, giving it a fitting name — Odyssée.

The 217-square-foot house has a space-efficient layout that fits all the amenities of a regular-sized home. The sitting area lies above a small room that can be used as a guest room or play area for a small child. A small, operable window ensures the crawlspace is well-ventilated. The kitchen is split into two areas — one with a sink and the other with the stove. A pull-out table forms a small dining space next to the kitchen. Accessible via a ladder is the main sleeping area with a big bed, while the bathroom features a composting toilet.

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Bernie Harberts' Lost Sea Expedition TV Series

Bernie Harberts was featured in our book Tiny Homes (pp. 188–189). He traveled from Canada to Mexico for 14 months in a 21-square-foot wagon pulled by a mule. Here is a letter we just received from him.

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Howdy Lloyd,

Many mule miles, no letters…

You featured mule Polly and her wagon in your Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter book. That story continues.

What I never really said much about is that I filmed that 14-month voyage across America. That voyage is now the “Lost Sea Expedition” TV series. The site and official trailer are at: www.lostseaexpedition.com.

I’ve attached some photos for you. I’d love to share the story and news with your blog readers.

Hell, I know you’re busy. You write you could use a clone. No worries. I’ll write the content for you. Just tell me what would work for you (short article, picture essay, blog post, etc).

Hope you and the hummers are well. You and I have lived for we know the jubilation of a thawed hummer flying from our hands!

Keep groovin’
–Bernie Harberts
www.lostseaexpedition.com
A Man A Mule America

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