Portland, Oregon, is considering a novel solution to creating more homes for the homeless and housing-insecure: backyard tiny houses. Like many U.S. areas rethinking their approach to homelessness, the city is suffering from an affordable housing shortage, and the two-year timeline for building convention shelters and supportive apartments just isn’t fast enough to meet the demand of some 24,000 units. The new tiny house alternative, led by the county government, involves the construction of accessory dwelling units in suburban backyards where small homeless families of 2-3 people will be able to live rent free.
The initiative, called A Place For You, is launching with a $350,000 pilot project to build an initial set of just four homes on private property, with families moving in this summer. In exchange for housing a homeless family for five years, the property owners will get a tax abatement and the tiny house—which they’d eventually be able to use or rent out.