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Couple Living Simply in Tiny House for 6+ Months

I had to share this story with you on a couple who has been living simply in a tiny house for the last six months and counting.

Christopher Derek and Betty Ybarra have been living in this micro cabin since December 2013. And it’s all of just 98 sq. ft.

The formerly homeless couple now have a solid roof over their heads. They park on the street and are required to move every two days to be compliant with city laws.

Formerly Homeless Couple Living Simply in Tiny House

© John Hart for Wisconsin State Journal

© John Hart for Wisconsin State Journal

I encourage you to read the full story over at Madison.

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Images © OM Build

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Brian June 8, 2014, 10:19 pm

    I saw the “I encourage you to read the full story over at Madison” and clicked to go over there. I read the inspirational story of these two people and then read the remarks of the locals. It was nothing short of a hate page against anyone who may be homeless and chooses to live in a tiny house. I have made a note to never go to Madison. Good luck with your OM adventure. I bet there is much interest in your idea. Greetings from Australia

  • Lisa E. June 9, 2014, 3:28 am

    I’m thrilled for these folks and the others in Seattle who now have a tiny home. I can’t understand anyone begrudging them being off the streets and living in a safe place of their own. But the fact that they must keep moving only underscores the need for Tiny House Villages. A network of them would be ideal so if one wanted to travel, they would have a place to go (like a KOA) but then they would always have their permanent place unless they relinquished it in favor of another location. I’m really happy to see this village community become a reality and I hope we see lots more of them.

  • Otessa Regina Compton June 9, 2014, 7:07 am

    BRING ON THE VILLAGES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Marsha Cowan June 9, 2014, 7:48 am

    I love the idea of tiny house villages, especially for those with current low income potential. However, as I said in another blog in another location about this idea, a tiny house should not just be a replacement for a tent or park bench. It should not be the final solution for a person’s life, only the first step. What now? Is there job training and placement in the lives of these recipients or will they continue to live on government aid, i.e. taxes paid by those who are working and struggling to make ends meet? One possible reason for some of the resentment this movement (and the homeless involved) by their surrounding neighbors is that those neighbors work to support themselves and any of the homeless in their area, and then see the homeless get a new house (albeit tiny) but still remain in the same condition financially and therefore still have to by supported by others. In addition to a new house, it looks are they are getting other amenities, too, that their working neighbors cannot afford (and will also be supporting?) So my question is, what now? Is any money being spent in making these homeless people self supporting?

    • Marsha Cowan June 9, 2014, 8:03 am

      One more thing, I read in another article about this movement that each person helps build their own house “and hopefully helps build other’s houses, too.” If people got together and built me a new house, I would definitely help to build other’s houses for them. If not, it speaks to an attitude problem. So I am hoping that was a typo, that it really should have said, “and then helps others build their houses.” In my 62 years of life on this earth, I have found myself and my children homeless twice because of job layoffs and my husband losing his job. We slept and lived in our 1977 Honda Accord for months on one of those occasions, ashamed to let our families know what had happened, bathing in a different service station bathroom everyday, living on whatever severance pay he got to keep gas in the car for job hunting and to keep peanut butter to eat which we ate off a spoon. Each time, we lost our house, furniture, the children’s toys, clothes, and other belongings, but could not ask for help from the government because in those days your children were taken from you and put in foster care, and we would not let that happen. I know first hand what is like to be homeless, so don’t think I am asking these questions out of “hate”, “prejudice against homeless”, or some other small minded reason. I am asking because I know the steps to finding financial independence again, and it is not in continuing on handouts from anybody. Independence comes from education and job training and working for ones life in a manner that allows freedom to live and enjoy life. A tiny house only makes that way of life easier and less financially stressful, so one can take a job one loves even if it does not mean a huge salary, but one cannot continue to be dependent on others and not prepare to take care of himself. There has to be a plan.

    • Brian June 9, 2014, 8:13 pm

      I think you are missing the point Marsha. To get a job and sustain it you need somewhere to live. These tiny houses not only supply somewhere to live but somewhere safe to live and a safe place to find a job from and an address. You have been in this situation yourself, reading your contributions to this site, so I am wondering why you are so negative about the reasons people are living in these super tiny homes. I read many people saying that there is nowhere to park these tiny homes. There are plenty of places to park these tiny houses. Life does not come with a printed manual. Think about it and the solution is there for anyone in this situation. God gave us all a fine computer (brain) so use it. Greetings from Australia.

      • Marsha Cowan June 9, 2014, 8:45 pm

        I am not sure where you got negativity from, I am FOR the villages as I said, because to get a job, one must have an address. Right. What I was trying to say is that I haven’t heard any plans beyond getting everyone a tiny house, that’s all, and that is a very important next step. In other words (and I repeat myself at this point) , the tiny house is not the final solution, just the beginning of the solution. I would like to hear more about the next step. There is nothing negative in that, just practical.

        • Alex September 25, 2014, 2:35 pm

          Thanks Marsha

  • Hunter June 9, 2014, 8:53 am

    Marsha,
    I agree with some of the statements you brought up. However; these people must have had jobs at some point in their lives, perhaps they are receiving some social security monies, or are unable to work through medical problems, be it physical or mental issues. I’m disabled myself and know the shame that goes with disability monies. You feel helpless trapped in a sick body but with a very willing “to do” brain. Even though a person does not appear “sickly” on the outside does not mean they are fit enough to hold a job. Thank god I was able to work for years, and now live on a small retirement income. I’m just saying outward appearances can be misleading to the world and humans are apt to jump to wrong conclusions(usually negative unfortunately) and judge people as” lazy slobs sponging off the backs of us working people”. Having been there and seen that it hurts and stays with you for a long time if not forever. I understand that thought pattern but ask people not to jump to those bad stereotypes of fellow humans. Living is hard enough, now days, as it has been for some of society throughout all of time. I just hope other people won’t judge we, the disabled or in anyway judge others without knowing that persons life, and all they may have gone through to end up needing a help up. Those that can be trained for work would probably jump at the chance to have a better style of life. But those who are unable to do work should not be made to feel like they have no self worth either. Depression usually comes with shocking changes. such as job losses, death of a close, loved mate or parent. Everyone handles trauma in a different way. Some people Can” suck it up “and get on with their lives, others cannot. We all are just trying to live.

    • Robbin June 9, 2014, 5:04 pm

      Thank you, Hunter. You accurately describe some of the struggles that one can go through when they are coping with a disability or one of many
      situations that someone is living through that were not planned or caused by any fault of their own. We must not judge those who we know nothing about. No one deserves to be homeless.

    • Brian June 9, 2014, 8:01 pm

      Very well put Hunter.

    • Marsha Cowan June 9, 2014, 9:01 pm

      I agree with you. Hunter, and I know that accepting aid when you are a self sustaining type person must be really hard. However, not all tax payers feel bad toward those who need help, most want to help and give to other organizations to help as well. It is okay to take out of the system what you put into it for so many years, it’s yours to take. Most people do not mind helping anybody get on their feet, but unfortunately, there have been generations of people in our country who have been raised on government aid and teach their children to do the same, to whom education and working are not an option. If there is resentment on the part of working citizens toward supporting others, it is only toward those who do not try to help themselves, but feel entitled. This entire village seems to be filled with people who want and like to work if and when given the opportunity, but not all the citizens in the town surrounding it know that and may have a false understanding of what they are trying to accomplish. It would be nice if the village and the citizens (without the seemingly impeding city officials) could come together and share concerns and ideas that would be beneficial to both parties. Maybe an “Open House” of sorts? And if I come off “hard nosed” to some, maybe its is because I grew up in poverty, (neither my father nor mother had high school diplomas, both had to quit school to farm) but had father who worked two jobs during the week and a weekend job as well to support us as best he could because in those days thee was no aid for families. Both my parents made sure that we went to college, again without government aid or loans because we did not qualify for some reason, and we had to spend the first years of our working lives paying back FASFA loans. So maybe I am a bit hard nosed, but if I can’t judge you and others, then you guys do not get to judge me either.

  • Cosy June 9, 2014, 10:37 am

    Well said Hunter.

  • Glema June 11, 2014, 3:39 am

    Why not save the judging for “The Judge” 🙂 LOVE one another as I have loved you. That would be a period at the end of that commandment ladies and gentlemen. Loving , loving, give what one is able “willingly” not begrudgingly.
    We are the tiny house community regardless if someone else sticks a bunch together and calls it one. I personally still haven’t made mine. Hubby doesn’t agree with it, yet. The dream to do so is valid none the less. The drawings and sketches to do so are valid none the less, the furniture I am collecting here and there are still there to be used. And as God is my witness if I find I won’t get to use it this way, I will gladly give it to one who needs it instead when the time comes. I would KNOW, God intended that person to have it or they would not have it, hello. Love one another . KNOW you are loved, I am sorry life is difficult sometimes, but in this world we will have tribulation we were told ahead of time after all.
    Be of good cheer HE has overcome the world. LOVE one another. Happy Trails and God bless!

  • Comet September 4, 2014, 6:00 pm

    Hows about we keep the religious rants off the site–this is about HOMEs not Church.

    There is sadly a BIG misconception that “Giving” homeless or other people who have had life struggles ANYTHING males them weak or more likely to “revert” to their former “depraved” lifestyle–and anything that ” Helps” them out is a “Handout” and therefore they are UNDESERVING of it because—

    Well I don’t exactly KNOW what the “Because” of this IS.

    Apparently there are a lot of “entitled” thinking people who inherited lots of money from Daddy Warbucks and who RESENT the other 99% who did NOT.

    The bottom 1% is perceived as depraved and shiftless and UNworthy of help.

    We need to prove that this mindset is WRONG and help as many people as we can to move into a stable life and work.

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