Financial and material donations, as well as volunteer labor, are the driving force behind building these homes. In some cases, people or entities are donating the materials and money for an entire home, but often homes are the result of multiple sources brought together by CCSS.
Robert Berard (pictured above), a Senior Architect at the Quinn Evans Architects Detroit office, rallied our internal Giving Back Committee to submit designs for the homes. Of the six tiny homes slated to be built by Christmas 2018, several will be designs by teams of architects at QEA.
Employees took time off-the-clock to meet and design usable, practical and affordable tiny homes. Berard hosted several design sessions with employees from our Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Washington, DC offices. After more than 20+ initial concepts were presented, the designs were narrowed down to six final concepts that employees teamed on to complete.
Some of the questions that came up during the design process include: What do people think of when they picture a traditional Detroit home? What does owning compared to renting a home look and feel like? How can you make a small space feel spacious? How can you take advantage of natural light and other design components to keep costs down for the tenants?
The main goal of the tiny homes program is to allow people not often given the opportunity to build and keep equity. However, these homes are having an impact on the Dexter-Linwood neighborhood.
“It’s good for everybody. It’s good for the environment, obviously tiny homes have a small carbon footprint. It’s good for the renters to become home owners because of the asset aspect. It’s good for the neighborhood because 25 more lots will be filled with people. It’s good for the city because they will become tax payers. For the larger community, especially the homeless community to see that someone who used to be homeless now is a stakeholder in our neighborhood.”
-Reverend Faith Fowler said in an interview with CNN
This rent-to-own-plus model has been so popular that for the first round of 25 homes had to cap applications after CCSS received over 1,000. Fowler is not stopping at just 25 homes. Fowler’s book, Tiny Homes in a Big City chronicles how the tiny homes effort is structured and allows any organization to replicate their model in any city.