Building Together. Tiny House Villages for the Homeless: A Comparative Case Study

Tiny homes, no larger than a parallel parking spot, are an emerging trend in housing for those uninterested, unwilling or unable to participate in traditional housing markets. Five groups across the United States have harnessed this minimalist movement to provide free or extremely low-cost housing for those experiencing homelessness. This thesis is a comparative case study of two tiny villages used to house the homeless and unsheltered. While the thesis will draw upon several tiny home villages in constructing a narrative and analysis, the body will focus on Occupy Madison Village in Madison, Wisconsin and Dignity Village in Portland, Oregon. Both Villages use clusters of 10-40 tiny homes to provide self-governed, permanent and transitional housing for homeless individuals and couples. This study examines how the villages were formed, the response they received from local residents and municipal officials, the zoning and regulatory issues related to the villages’ development, their operations, financing structure and livability.