Betty Ybarra is about to move into the first house she has ever owned, a tiny home which she helped build. The tiny homes for the homeless project is the brainchild of Occupy Madison, a non-profit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin. Betty’s is the first tiny house the group has built, and her and Occupy Madison volunteers have been building it for about two months. The finished 96-foot-square tiny home is now ready, and cost about $3000 to build. The money needed to build the home came entirely from donations from the community.
The Rural Studio members, founded in 1993 by Sam Mockbee, have been perfecting the design of the so-called 20K House for the last twenty years. The project was started by Mockbee who created a program where Auburn University’s architecture students could use reclaimed wood or natural other materials to design houses for low-income residents of Hale County, AL. For the past ten years, the students have been building these homes for the poor living in the Black Belt area of Alabama. But now the 20K house is being put on the general market.
Non-profit Homeward Bound of Marin and California-based Blu Homes recently announced a partnership to build an affordable housing project for homeless families in Marin County. The Oma Village project will replace a former drug and alcohol rehabilitation center with a community of 14 net-zero energy one- and two-bedroom homes.
The concept of using off-site fabricated modules for core elements of a home is not necessarily new. In fact, most recently Proto Homes introduced a hybrid-prefab system with the Proto Core, which is a chase for mechanical, plumbing, and electrical. It’s also being used in the form of “wet-cores” for The House of the Immediate Future with Habitat for Humanity (Seattle/South King County) at the Seattle Center.
Today my alma mater Southern Methodist University celebrates a new master’s degree program in sustainability and development. The degree covers sustainability-related topics from policy to design in both developed and developing worlds. SMU will kick off the endeavor mid-day Friday with London sustainability strategist Peter Bishop and the unveiling of a low-cost Pallet House prototype designed by I-Beam Design.