Harvard Law & Policy Review
“There’s no place like home,” said Dorothy. Yet, millions of people in the United States may face eviction, foreclosure, or homelessness in 2021 and beyond. America is on the brink of an unprecedented housing crisis in the wake of Covid-19. The federal government, and various states and localities, have taken actions to avert a housing crisis in the aftermath of Covid 19. While these actions have undeniably helped mitigate widespread foreclosure and eviction crises, they do not fully address the more fundamental American housing challenge—an inadequate supply of affordable housing at all income levels, a longstanding problem that Covid-19 has only intensified.
This Article argues that tiny homes—homes that are less than 400 square feet—are an understudied and potentially big solution to the problem of housing insecurity, particularly during times of crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, increasing numbers of localities and nonprofits work in public and private partnerships to develop tiny homes villages as emergency housing or affordable housing in addition to housing for homeless people. The villages often consist of more than one tiny home and some villages can accommodate 350 tiny homes per site as well as families. Tiny homes villages, if designed properly, are an affordable and efficient way to add to the housing supply, providing residents with a community in which to advance their human flourishing as well as obtain shelter. Tiny homes will not work for every homeless person or in every community. Tiny homes villages should not replace all other forms of shelter for homeless people or all other forms of affordable housing. Localities, however, should develop the necessary building codes, zoning designations, land use categories, and approval processes to make living tiny legal and to permit tiny homes villages to mitigate housing insecurity.
Harvard Law School
Lisa T. Alexander,
Tiny Homes: A Big Solution to American Housing Insecurity,
Harv. L. & Pol'y Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.tamu.edu/facscholar/1551