Mayor La Toya Cantrell- The first female Mayor in the 300 year history of New Orleans has called for a study of tiny homes and other affordable housing solutions. New Orleans received $28 million in federal tax credits and block grants.
The funding came through the Louisiana Housing Corporation’s 2019 Piggyback Awards. New Orleans developments received nearly $3.4 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and $24.5 million in Community Development Block Grants.
Together, these developments will produce 642 affordable residences.
Mayor La Toya Cantrell Kicks Off Affordable Housing Tour
On August 7th, 2019 Mayor LaToya Cantrell kicked off the Affordable Housing Tour (AHT) in the Lower Ninth Ward. The AHT is a series of community meetings to engage the public in discussions regarding the future of affordable housing in the City of New Orleans. During the 7-stop tour the Mayor will visit each district (Districts C and E twice) to outline her plan and available resources provided by the City to ensure equitable and affordable housing in New Orleans.
Next Stop Of The Tour Sept 19th, 2019
The next stop with be at 6pm at Stallings St. Claude Recreation Center at 4300 St. Claude New Orleans , La. 70117 on Sept 19th, 2019.
Councilwoman Kristin Palmer is considering tiny homes as a possible solution.
Kristin Gisleson Palmer represents New Orleans City Council District C which includes Algiers, French Quarter, Marigny, Treme, St. Roch and Bywater neighborhoods. She chairs the Transportation and Governmental Affairs Committees, focusing on regionalism within the transportation sector,
As an affordable housing advocate and a neighborhood preservationist, she has tackled the City’s Short Term Rental program, fighting developers to keep homeowners in neighborhoods.
Kristin Palmer visited Micheal Burnside’s tiny house, one of the smallest homes in New Orleans
Micheal was homeless for eight years before he saved up to build his own 176 square foot home. It cost him $16,500 to build his home and it is now assessed for $87,000. The lot cost Micheal $5110. This puts his assessed value at around $500 a square foot. His neighbor’s homes assessments range from $33 to $196 a square foot.
Burnside said he finds comedy in his situation, and he hasn’t decided whether or not to contest the assessment or sell the home and build another one. A new assessment to Micheal’s tiny home could make a big difference because he lives on a very small amount monthly.
A fascinating thing has been happening. Tiny Homes and Moveable Homes, are finally starting to be included in top level conversations about developing solutions to the housing crisis. Advancements in construction techniques have demonstrated how homes can be built more efficiently, with higher quality standards and at far lower cost when they are built at a remote and controlled environment. The same regulatory hurdles that obstruct Tiny Homes on wheels, are limiting all sorts of new construction technologies that are also built modularly and meant for transport. While the country is in a massive affordable housing crisis we need to rethink zoning laws that impede the ability of the private sector to utilize new technologies to solve the problem. We can dump massive amounts of federal funding into building subsidized housing but nothing will have a greater effect on affordable housing than adjusting our outdated building and zoning codes. We have an industry ready to provide solutions, we have a society desperate for answers, all it takes is some common sense reform and amazingly that is an idea with increasing bipartisan support.
I think the current shift in momentum is the result of a movement of people who have been patiently committed to engaging in informative conversations and have maintained motivation despite long years of resistance. Up and down the west coast, tiny home friendly legislation has been passed and all of the recent zoning changes have truly taken years of exhaustive negotiation. As more and more changes happen it feels fantastic to be part of a tribe of people dedicated to advocating for laws that allow intentionally simplistic living. During this journey I have met many inspiring and passionate tiny house people and we have all contributed to the progress. Yet, some people deserve special recognition and few people have dedicated more of their time and done more to open minds than the producers of this video – Tiny House Expedition. I am truly lucky to call these two friends and we are all lucky that they are part of this special community.
If you are interested in following the progress of the tiny home movement or help us gain legal traction, go follow Tiny House Expedition’s YouTube page!
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Innovative Housing Showcase Opening Remarks
Washington, D.C., National Mall, June 1, 2019
Welcome, everyone, to the inaugural Innovative Housing Showcase!
he Purpose Of The Showcase: Increasing Affordability and Resiliency
What brings this incredible array of pioneers together this week is a joint mission to educate and inform America’s national conversation on housing policy. We believe the best way to galvanize people and policymakers toward a powerful vision of the future is to place that vision right in front of them – and show them what is truly possible.
The Showcase features state-of-the-art building technologies and housing solutions that can make home ownership more affordable for American families, and homes more resilient during natural disasters. In addition, there will be a wide array of exhibitions, prototype homes, panel discussions, and policy conversations with leaders across the housing industry over this five-day event.
Executive Order Establishing a White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing
These regulatory barriers impede our Nation’s economic growth. Hardworking American families struggle to live in markets where there is an insufficient supply of housing — even in markets generating a significant number of jobs. One recent study suggests that certain regulatory restrictions on housing supply have forced workers to live far away from high-productivity areas with the best available jobs, creating a geographic misallocation of labor between cities that may have decreased the annual economic growth rate in the United States by 36 percent between 1964 and 2009.
The National Association of Home Builders and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently co-hosted the inaugural Innovative Housing Showcase. During this free 5-day event, attendees toured new building technologies and housing solutions. Importantly, tiny houses were front and center. The focus of the Showcase: ways to make housing more affordable for American families and homes more resilient during natural disasters.
Inclusion meant tiny houses further legitimized as a quality, affordable housing solution to a wide range of needs— a big step forward for greater acceptance. The Showcase provided an incredible opportunity for advocates to speak directly to elected officials and policymakers to give them a greater understanding of tiny house benefits for community development, and the barriers to legal placement.
The two movable tiny houses on display came showcased the diversity of building materials and construction techniques within the movement. Core Housing Solutions brought their Firefly model, a 200 square foot tiny home weighing with a downstairs bedroom. At 25′ long, it weighs a mere 5,500 lbs. To achieve this and below-average cost, the builders use innovative materials, including metal SIP panels, NASA engineered for high tolerances—stronger pound for pound than reinforced concrete.
The Build Us Hope nonprofit and their for-profit partner, Tiny House Developers, brought their Big Blue model. It is a 32′ three-bedroom tiny home. They build using three framing types: light gauge injected steel panels, SIPs framing, and traditional studs framing. Their exhibit also featured a visuals V13, their first veterans’ micro home village in Phoenix. Their second community is currently in the works.
Other event displays included a reimagined shipping container house and an expandable, stackable building system. For example, exhibitor IndieDwell builds steel modular housing with a high durability, healthy, and sustainability focus. They showcased their largest model, 960 square feet made from three recycled out-of-service containers. Additionally, they offer one and two container models. Their smallest is 320 square feet. To learn more about what modular means, read this.
To my delight, the movable tiny houses were incredibly well-received with bi-partisan support, as demonstrated by in-person feedback and numerous mentions during the event’s talks. Additionally, as a general public crowd-pleaser, they clearly had the longest lines all five days.
On day one, Zack Giffin, Tiny House Nation co-host and THIA board member, led a thought-provoking panel discussion on tiny homes, titled “Many Problems, Mini Solutions.” Participants included me, Core Housing’s Andrew Bennett and Build Us Hope’s Elizabeth Singelton. It provided an excellent overview of the nationwide opportunities and obstacles facing tiny house development.
They were in attendance, in part, to share the news about the new Washington State Bill addressing tiny house building standards, placement, and anti-discrimination protections. While imperfect like all legislation, it shows how states can help legitimize tiny houses as housing, which in turn, hopefully, will expedite local approvals.
A vital event objective was productive conversation on how to facilitate more acceptance of non-traditional yet practical housing options, regardless of political affiliation. A hot topic was the role of the federal government to apply pressure locally to ease out-of-date, overly restrictive regulations.
To that end, HUD outlined one of their goals as trying to educate state and local governments on options they should review and ways to work together to overcome obstacles, with help from the private sector.
It was heartwarming to see a mix of policymakers, congress members (on both sides of the aisle), financial regulators, industry professionals, etc., come together over the common ground of providing more Americans with homeownership opportunities. Ultimately the Showcase generated numerous worthwhile exposure for tiny houses, as both a fill-in-the-gaps housing solution and as a flexible emergency housing option.
While I am not naive that this event will directly solve local issues. Inclusion itself gave tiny housing a new level of legitimization. Though talk can be cheap, the national level education and PR opportunities were exceedingly valuable.
Additionally, I am grateful that a diverse group of tiny home dwellers, builders, and grassroots advocates were able to participate in sharing a realistic look at what’s happening around the country within the tiny house movement.
While there, my partner Christian and I asked event attendees, from HUD reps to the general public, “What’s your first impression of the tiny house?” Watch the below video to hear their responses. And no, we did not cut out negative feedback. We received thoughtful responses from all who spoke with us.