Group pitches tiny homes to fix housing crisis

Tiny homes can be another housing option for people.

Ed Peterson, the founder and operations director at Tiny Town Association, told Algonquin Highlands township council that tiny housing is an affordable and acceptable avenue to put a roof over heads.

“Our big thing is we’re looking to build sustainably, affordable, and we’re focused on tiny homes,” Peterson said.

Tiny homes meet the needs of one- and two-person households. That’s the hardest hit demographic by the current housing crisis.

“Singles and couples are really sort of left out of the mix,” he said.

Tiny Town Association, a group of volunteers, is a not-for-profit developer working to expand affordable housing options in suburban and rural communities, initially across Ontario, and then all of Canada.

According to the most recent information from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has underestimated the number of houses required to meet the need.

Peterson said figures indicates Canada will be short by five million homes by 2030.

“It’s really pressing what we need to do to make a difference,” he said.

In a tiny home community, once the water and sewer and hydro infrastructure has been established, homes can be added incrementally over time.

“Even where a larger piece of property can be designated in a municipality as housing, it doesn’t have to be fully developed for people to begin living in it,” he said.

The association has had discussions with many Ontario municipalities and 24 of them have come forward with parcels of land for development.

Deputy Mayor Jennifer Dailloux inquired about the environmental impact of tiny homes.

Peterson said the factory where the modular homes are built is a controlled environment.

“It can be built very efficiently,” he said. “We’re expecting a lot lower wastage than in traditional on-site built housing.”

And, he said, much of the house could even be recycled in the future.

“I’m wondering how you best see a municipality working with your association on a project,” Mayor Liz Danielsen said.

He said the municipality in the partnership would provide the land and cover “soft costs” like permitting and such.

“And then we in turn will provide affordable housing rental units in that community of equal value or similar value,” he said. “And we don’t plan that our housing is for any short time.”

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James Matthews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Haliburton County Echo