Over the past two weeks, we have asked our readers to join the conversation on tiny housing and to share their responses on Facebook, Twitter, or the Community Workspace on Homelessness. The responses show that there are both positive and negative opinions about the topic. We are grateful to all who took part in the discussion.

Brian Grant (Community Workspace on Homelessness).

Brian Grant, an online forum for discussing homelessness in Canada that is free, suggested that there are few private options available to single homeless people who want to get out of the shelter system. Most people live in shared housing arrangements. Tiny houses for the homeless people is a great alternative to shared accommodation arrangements and offer impossible privacy elsewhere.

Brian Grant at the Workspace:

I know there is no affordable housing available in my area for a single poor person who has received a Social Services single-person shelter allowance. A single person seeking to escape emergency shelters will be forced into a shared or roommate arrangement.

Sharon Jessup Joyce (Twitter).

As we discussed in the first part of this blog series, tiny houses might not be an affordable option for everyone. It would be best if you considered a range of options. Sharon Jessup Joyce tweeted, “We need more micro-apartments and homeshares” Home shares and board houses may be suitable for some people, but not all. Although there is no single solution for affordable housing, giving people more choice and agency can help improve their chances of escaping homelessness. Each person’s circumstances are different, so we need to allow housing options that reflect this.

Werner Hofstatter (Community Workspace on Homelessness).

Werner Hofstatter shared the success story of “Dignity Village”, an Oregon tiny-house community.

Werner Hofstatter in the Workspace:

“Dignity Village” represents the best example of tiny homes used to meet the needs of homeless people or those at risk.

We spoke to Eric Weissman about the role of tiny housing communities. He is a researcher in the field of tiny houses and the author of “Dignity in Exile”, an ethnographic description of life in Dignity Village.

Eric Weissman PhD.

Weissman says that a private or shared structure is essential for a person’s social, physical and emotional needs. “It’s not only the satisfaction of a material housing need, but having an inner sanctuary, a structure that is like others, and that is part of the community of other structures is the essence belonging.”

Weissman explains that “Dignity Village” and similar places are forms of rapid housing and function in many ways like Housing First Programs. To succeed, these communities must provide stability, harm reduction, and access to the necessary supports, similar to Housing First models.

According to Weissman, tiny houses are safer than streets and cleaner than street dwellings. They also provide self-efficacy through self-governance and building. Tiny house communities are the anchorage for real communities because they are tied -by foundations and structures – to physical places.

Weissman also believes that tiny housing structures such as trailer parks are not uncommon. He says, “In Canada, many people live in double-wides and trailers, and these are forms and micro housing.”

The other end is the well-financed micro-homes that appeal to both conventional wisdom and increasing environmental sentimentality. The debate about alternative places for the poor will occur somewhere along this continuum.

Although this blog post ends our series on tiny houses, the larger conversation about tiny houses is not over. Tiny houses offer both opportunities and challenges, judging by the responses of readers and researchers. As we have said, tiny houses are not a quick fix for homelessness or an affordable housing shortage. But, the growing discourse about the movement tells us something. Individuals and communities are demanding faster and better solutions to affordable housing shortages. This is evident in the tiny house movement. We will see if those solutions are in square footage or form.