01 March 2009

Affordable Housing: It's the land, you fools!

UPDATED. More tiny houses, including this one being built cost free.

For years, good ideas have been circulating on the kinds of structures which could be used to house people of low-income. Or people who simply want to reduce their carbon footprint.

The problem has never been about how to create affordable shelter. It's been about where to place it.

Land needs to be made available. Governments could release some of what they own and acquire more land from private sources - such as TimberWest which has 54,000 hectares of Vancouver Island it's looking to sell. NIMBYism is the thornier issue. Apparently, people of low income are dirty, lazy, shiftless thieves and liars, and they bring down the value of real estate.

ETA: Yet another issue is the propensity of the owners of mobile home parks to sell off their land for development.

Imagine if someone were able to build one of those cost-free tiny houses. Provided they could find a vacant MHP lot (one more problem), the pad rent would be substantially lower than what they pay for rent elsewhere. Those tiny houses consume little energy for heating or cooling, so the costs above rent would again be less than what most people would pay in other accommodation.

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