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TINY HOMES make BIG IMPACT at Washington DC housing event

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This is the story of how tiny homes made a big impact at the recent Innovative Housing Showcase event in Washington, D.C. which showcased several affordable housing options. And also, how our government may be opening up to legalizing tiny.

Alexis and Christian, of Tiny House Expedition, even got the attention of Ben Carson, head of housing and development for the United States. Mr. Carson mentioned how we are being hampered by regulatory barriers. Again, this is coming from the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)! THAT’S encouraging. Maybe we will see significant forward progress for tiny homes in the very near future. So, wanna see what the event was like? Let’s go…

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How tiny houses made a big impact at the Washington DC Innovative Housing Showcase event (2019)

VIDEO – Innovative Tiny Houses in Washington DC Make A BIG Impact

Please listen to Mr. Ben Carson at the 2:22 mark, where he says,

“…a lot of the stuff is available but – you know – we are being hampered by regulatory barriers. And that’s one of the reasons we wanted to put it here on the National Mall so the legislative branch could see what was going on because it’s going to require federal, state, local, non-profits, for-profits, faith-based, everybody – working together – we certainly have the capability of solving our issues.”

Your thoughts, please?

What do you think?

Does this give you some hope towards the future of legalizing tiny homes?

Please – let’s talk about TINY HOMES being LEGALIZED, NOT divisive politics or political biases. Thank you!🙏

Learn more

YouTube | Tiny House Expedition | HUD | Core Housing | Indie Dwell | Boxabl | Build Us Hope

Our big thanks to the Tiny House Expedition YouTube Channel for sharing!🙏

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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!
{ 24 comments… add one }
  • keepyourpower
    June 17, 2019, 4:46 pm

    Dr. Ben Carson is a wonderful, open minded person. We are so fortunate, to have him, in charge of HUD.
    Thank you, Mr. President for asking Dr. Ben Carson, to be the Secretary of HUD.

    We are Blessed!

  • Sherry McLaughlin
    June 17, 2019, 4:55 pm

    This is so desperately needed in this country for not everyone is rich or wealthy like Trump, Gates or our congressmen. Sometimes things happen to take away the security what has been built up for someone and they are left homeless and desperate ……Hope Mr. Carson takes note of this and helps our country men and women left in a bind.

  • Veryl Yarnes
    June 17, 2019, 4:59 pm

    When Ben Carson and the government starts rhapsodizing about the joys of tiny house living, you know we are in trouble. They are hoping to lower our expectations so we will be happy with 7$ an hour wages, and living below the poverty line so the rich can hoard even more of the wealth of this country.

    • Alex
      June 18, 2019, 12:42 pm

      That could be some people’s intentions, for sure, but I truly don’t see that intention in Ben Carson. I think he actually wants to help fix problems related to housing. That’s his job now. He’s a really smart and world renown doctor. Let’s see what he does. We haven’t really given him much time yet and real estate/construction is a very slow moving industry by nature, remember?

      I actually didn’t know who was head of HUD before Ben Carson but I looked it up really quick and his name is Julian Castro, a young career politician. I feel more comfortable with someone like Dr. Ben Carson because he’s already very successful with his previous career (very successful, actually) and therefore would be less likely to become corrupted by the same construction industry lobbyists who have been requiring us to build oversized homes for decades.

      • Mary McGuirk
        June 18, 2019, 9:08 pm

        Sorry, if you think carson is better able to do this job than Castro, the TH movement is dead already. I tried not to think of this as a political issue, but if YOU think any republican is ever going to do something that really benefits low income people, I have a bridge to sell you with ocean front property in AZ. Castro didn’t try to buy 30 thousand dollar table and chairs, and he actually tried to help people instead of cutting funding.

        • James D.
          June 19, 2019, 3:34 am

          You’re kidding, right? Castro hurt far more people than he ever helped. There’s a reason so many fled his reign, even long after he took over, and the simple fact he never allowed the people to rule themselves and treated so many as enemies of the state is not something you can just gloss over and pretend he was doing it all for the good of the people…

          While Ben Carson has spent his life helping people and first made his mark as a neurosurgeon becoming world renowned for his skill and revolutionary surgeries. Like the first successful separation of Siamese twins that were joined at the head, among other firsts. He saved many children in his career before turning to politics… and none of that came easy to him as he had to overcome poverty, racism, and even his own temper.

          So Ben Carson has proven he helps people, time and time again and knows first hand what it means to struggle and overcome the odds. Being part of a political party doesn’t stop people from being people and still having their own mind… People are defined by their character and their actions, not what you label them!

  • Laura
    June 17, 2019, 9:20 pm

    I live in DC. How did I not hear about this event!

  • Ellen Childress
    June 18, 2019, 12:37 am

    I am not hearing much negative talk about tiny homes here in Dallas, Texas as long
    as they are not on wheels. We prefer container homes, a bit larger than the usual
    tiny home, but on a city lot, etc.

    • Paris
      June 18, 2019, 4:17 pm

      Ellen Childress,

      Who is “we” and do you work in Dallas in any building/housing capacity. Genuinely asking if what you said is true of legislation or just your observing opinion.

      Secondly, Plano, TX is my home town but as a flight attendant with an Air Force kid upbringing I want my tiny on wheels. Not foundation, for I don’t like permanence.

      • James D.
        June 29, 2019, 4:37 am

        Just an option but you could just put a container home on a trailer and permanently mount it… Commercial builders like Incredible Tiny Homes have done that for example. It’ll be basically a single level THOW then…

        Though, as long as you don’t permanently embed the home on a foundation any home can technically be moved. It’s just a question of how easy or hard it’ll be and how much it will cost.

        Options include skids, wheels with or without the trailer if the structure is self supporting, floating platform if it’s going to serve as a boat house, or any number of temporary foundation options… While some home designs can simply be taken apart, packed up and moved that way.

        As for Texas… Yeah, most of the legalizing of tiny houses in that state has been for structures on foundations. Even Spur, TX that openly announces itself as tiny house friendly wants THOWs to have their wheels removed. While it’s easier to get an ADU than a property by itself that the tiny house can be the primary structure for most of the state.

        Though, wheels can always be put back on and there’s different options for nomadic life as long as you don’t stay in one area too long to run into the permanence requirements… Like you could use BLM and just move to a new location every 2 weeks or design the home to work with RV parks.

        But you may want to a consider a RV if you plan to move regularly as they will be easier to move and can be easier to find parking spots that will accept them.

        Advocates like Tiny House Expedition have traveled over 55,000 miles through over 34 states in their tiny house towed with a Uhaul truck but they will be the first to point out that it isn’t very economical to do that with a tiny house and that’s even with them having a deal with Uhaul so they only pay for gas…

        Alternatively, you can consider a tiny house as a home base but have an RV to travel… Like that’s what Tiny House Giant Journey is doing, as well as renting her original tiny home for additional income while she travels.

  • Michael Sisk
    June 18, 2019, 9:54 am

    I own a tiny house and I love it! The problem is finding land to put it on. Zoning restrictions in many areas only want larger homes, not tiny homes. This needs to change.

  • Paris
    June 18, 2019, 4:12 pm

    Ben Carson is a brilliant surgeon, so why is he heading up housing for the USA…
    I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him.

    But a small part of me hopes for the best in general for tiny houses and ADUs

    • James D.
      June 20, 2019, 12:51 am

      He retired from being a surgeon and remember, he ran for President and lost, but he still wanted to serve in some capacity… So what capacity do you think he should have opted for if not housing to help people?

      Besides, decades of bureaucracy isn’t exactly easy to change but he has been reportedly trying to get rid of much of the bureaucracy and make it more efficient, but there has just been a lot of resistance. Though, he’s revealing much of what’s wrong with HUD, like finding $500 Billion in errors in his first year from the previous administration tenor… In 2018 he pushed for using infrastructure grants from his department that communities use to build roads, sewers, bridges and other projects as a tool to negotiate for less restrictive zoning… and now this event shows he’s still pushing for that kind of change…

  • Mary McGuirk
    June 18, 2019, 5:46 pm

    There are two types of regulations. Regulations that reduce competition in order to profit businesses and one type that helps people. The ones that help people are getting eliminated, but regulations that help corporations are being retained. I do not see the trump administration doing anything to reduce crowding in cities since it is beneficial to the landowners to keep rules demanding large lots and large houses. Senator Warren has a REAL PLAN for AFFORDABLE HOUSING by changing ZONING and SIZE requirements.

    • James D.
      June 20, 2019, 1:55 am

      Not unless you didn’t learn anything from the housing bubble crash… Warren plan fails to understand that decades of pressure on banks to lend in poor neighborhoods made matters worse. The Community Reinvestment Act, along with the “affordable housing mandates” of the federal housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, pushed banks to loan, whether buyers were credit-worthy or not.

      So when homeowners could not repay those loans during the financial crisis, hard-working, credit-worthy neighbors saw foreclosures invade their neighborhoods, undermining the value of their assets. Any policy that encourages lending based on low-income status, rather than credit-worthiness, harms more than it helps by sending the message that need, rather than accomplishment and savings, should matter most.

      Sure, construction of three million “affordable” rental units sounds attractive but on closer inspection, it’s not an efficient use of public funds. Look at Government Accountability Office reports, which shows such units, typically financed through the federal low-income housing tax credit, come at a high cost, with big fees going to developers, more than $300,000 per unit in Chicago, for instance. Just changing the zoning and size restrictions isn’t going to change these and other issues…

      This is the typical problem with looking to the federal government to solve problems because bureaucracy is inherently horridly inefficient and wasteful, along with being prone to corruption. 7 of 10 low-income families who qualify do not even receive housing assistance and those that do get it under a lottery system…

      While those shiny new units will compete with older housing, leaving older units vacant and surrounding neighborhoods worse off.

      We actually need to make poor neighborhoods good neighborhoods by physically upgrading them. Creating low-income neighborhoods that are safe, that have good schools, clean streets, and attractive parks is a far better pursuit than relocating a fortunate few to the suburbs, where they may or may not prosper. Making sure all neighborhoods have good public services is the proper role for government and much of that should be the focus of local government that will answer directly to the people instead of a remote federal bureaucracy that may answer to no one in particular or take years to invoke any change.

      Seriously, we have to start learning from history and stop making the same mistakes over and over. It has been the government, not the free market, that is most often responsible for a lack of affordable housing. City and state governments have imposed expensive regulations, taxes, fees, and rent controls that discourage investment in affordable housing.

      Take, for example, high-tax and regulation-heavy California, where the average cost to build a single-family unit of affordable housing is more than $300,000. In some cases, a single unit can cost as much as $750,000. It’s a similar story in other big-government states with strict housing laws, such as New York, where the average cost to build affordable housing is more than $250,000… and those are the types of areas most of this will be directed… Think about it…

      • Mary McGuirk
        June 20, 2019, 2:22 am

        have you read Warren’s plan for affordable housing? Your claim about the CRA is just UNTRUE…They didn’t change the way they evaluated loans…the mortgage companies just came up with sneaky ways to rip-off poor people with adjustable rates and balloons and high fees that encouraged SPECULATION and rising prices while interest rates went down. They also churned millions in refinancing fees that were outrageously high and hidden.
        GREED was the culprit along with ZONING regulations that almost make it impossible to have enough affordable housing. Tax laws have also screwed poor people, since their mortgage interest is not deductible. If you want to look for the culprits see who found the loopholes…blame them, (since the ones who profited were usually the ones who wrote the regulations, not the government.)

        • James D.
          June 20, 2019, 2:45 am

          Yes, I’ve read it and what I stated is true. Sorry but the government had a big hand in the causes of the housing bubble crash and not just the mortgage companies. Barney Frank, the chair of the House Financial Services Committee at the time and a longtime supporter of Fannie and Freddie, even admitted that it had been a mistake to force home ownership on people who could not afford it!

          Again, we have to learn from history and not revisionist history. Mortgage companies had their role too but don’t think for a second the government didn’t have a role in it as well… Much of this dates back to changes they started making since 1992…

          From 1994 to 2003, Fannie and Freddie’s purchases of mortgages, as a percentage of all mortgage originations, increased from 37% to an all-time high of 57%, effectively cornering the conventional conforming market. With leverage ratios that averaged 75-to-1, and funds raised with implicit government backing, the GSEs were pouring money into the housing market. This in itself would have driven the housing bubble and that trend continued right up to the housing bubble crash.

          There’s much more but seriously, when has the federal government ever done anything efficiently or kept on track for the long term? Again, think about it…

        • Laura Smyser
          September 25, 2019, 5:45 am

          Uhm, yes they did change the rules. Those greedy people you hate gave loans to people who had nothing to show they could repay them and they didn’t. Mortgage interest was deductible at that time.

  • Rae
    June 18, 2019, 7:09 pm

    Keep up the great work Alex! Loving the recording, reporting, documenting and listing tiny he’s.and tiny house challenges.

    • Alex
      June 19, 2019, 2:01 pm

      Will do, Rae, thank you very much!

  • Karen Rivers
    June 27, 2019, 4:04 am

    It is too bad people can not see past their personal issues to the message of affordable housing for everyone. I am not going to endorse Carson, he is not the point.

  • Donna Rae
    September 24, 2019, 7:48 pm

    Though I am not a fan of Dr. Carson, I believe in giving credit where credit is due. This is a long needed spotlight on smaller housing and the difficulties faced by those who want to significantly downsize. Changes are needed more at the local level but having D.C. bring attention to this is fabulous. I have read recently that there are cities that are now allowing people to build small houses in their backyards in order to solve the lack of housing. Many are interested in doing this so that they can have their elderly parents living close at hand while allowing them a level of independence. Some cities are allowing them to be used as long-term rentals, too. There is also a trend to offer small houses on small lots so people can find affordable housing. Americans are used to having larger houses on big lots and there may need to be a change in attitude about that. I get that larger families need larger houses and that is great, but single people, couples without children and retirees seem to be leaning toward living with less and liking it. Downsizing may seem like a terrible thing and burden to some, a reminder that they can’t afford what they really want but I think that is a small percentage of those wanting to live smaller. A lot of people don’t need a big yard that requires time and effort to maintain, and smaller houses take less time to clean, too. Consumerism has created the demand for McMansions that are so close to their neighbors that you can have a conversation from adjacent windows but that is highly unappealing to a lot of us. Regardless of your point of view, this level of attention to this problem is welcomed.

  • Donna Rae
    September 24, 2019, 7:52 pm

    Neighborhoods with small lots and small but beautiful houses was very popular at the turn of the last century during the Arts and Crafts movement. They were called Pocket Neighborhoods and were lovely. People got to know their neighbors and enjoy open community space at the center of the complex but to have small yards to plant their own favorite gardens. It gave people a choice to be in their own space and have quiet time or to go out and mingle with their neighbors.

  • Laura Smyser
    September 25, 2019, 5:49 am

    Dr. Ben Carson was raised by a single mother in a low income neighborhood. He’s a wonderful surgeon, an asset to the PT administration and an advocate for low income situations. These homes are great!

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