Tiny Living Big Dreams

Tiny house

You have an underutilised back yard. We build you an architecturally designed tiny house. For 5 years that tiny house provides stable accommodation for someone who once was homeless. Normal rent payments are split, with part covering the cost of the build, and part being set aside for the tenants future housing needs. The tiny house provides the stability they need to get back on their feet and dreaming big again. You get a tiny house at the end of the five years and years of good dreams.

How the this idea will be delivered

Tiny Living Big Dreams would be set up as a Social Enterprise - a business which creates social impact - so neither a 'charity' nor a 'for-profit'.

With an average cost of $110 - $140 per night, per individual for temporary accommodation, the cost to government of homelessness is significant. The additional cost, of support services, lost opportunity and social and community costs further increases the actual cost. However there is a lack of affordable rental housings.

By building architecturally designed tiny houses (approximately the size of a double garage) we create homes which are functional and desirable; both to the landlord and to the tenant. Because the homeowner gets their return in five years time, the money which would normally be used on rent can be used to cover the cost of the initial build. However, sole reliance upon government funding creates a precarious scenario. Changes in government, policy, or economic conditions can jeopardise the best initiatives. By creating architecturally designed homes, which would be a viable business option in today's climate anyway, we can build these homes 'for-profit' for those who do not wish to commit to five years and instead would prefer to pay upfront. This income can then be used to build more tiny houses. This solution is a business response which fits within existing council approval's, is low cost, replicable throughout Adelaide and becomes less reliant upon government funding as it develops.

It does raise the question of what happens to the tenant at the end of five years. This can be resolved through an 'equity participation scheme for tenants' whereby accommodation payments not applied to the cost and maintenance of the project would be available to tenants as needed for future housing related expenditure creating a pathway from homelessness to self support.

The final piece of the solution would be for such tenants to use that funding to procure their own piece of land and then build their own tiny house.

For the back yard renter, at the end of the five years they have an asset, which they can then rent out again, bringing more affordable property onto the market, which better meets the needs of all aspects of our community.

How this idea will create value

The idea uses a 'housing first' approach, which argues that the first aspect in tackling homelessness is providing long-term housing with holistic case management support. There are many studies throughout the world now, and a recent one conducted by Mission Australia which show that housing first generates significant savings within the housing system as a result of successful tenancies.
By using existing back yards, and by locating the houses throughout Adelaide, the initiative generates social and community capital. We all thrive when we are supported, but often the services provided to homeless people, and the people they interact with, are done in a bubble. By locating housing in backyards, we create an opportunity for tenants to interact with their community, build relationships, develop support and in doing so increase their likelihood of successfully transitioning to stable, permanent accommodation. We also create an opportunity for the community to have a practical response to an issue which too often is only experienced by walking past a homeless person on the street.

How this will benefit South Australia

The idea has three main benefits:
1) The creation of affordable housing for rent which is distributed across Adelaide, avoiding the concentration of 'cheap' housing areas.
2) An alternative housing option for those who are experiencing homelessness or who are very-low income earners, which provides social and community support and provides the community with a practical response which is easily implementable.
3) A model for tackling homelessness and accommodation for very-low income which is not 100% reliant upon either government funding nor donations for survival.

Finalist