Tiny homes offering possible solution to homelessness, climate change

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Sunday, September 11, 2022
Tiny home advocates look to solve problems in our communities
Tinyfest happening this weekend at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton that showcases the perks of living in a tiny home.

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- They may be tiny in size, but these homes are offering up some pretty big solutions.

As issues like homelessness and climate change continue to plague the Bay Area, one group says they might have an answer.

"People are learning that they're a viable option. They are attainable housing," said Renee McLaughlin.

McLaughlin is the CEO of Tiny Fest - an event happening this weekend at the Alameda County Fairgrounds that showcases the perks of living in a tiny home.

The trend is a relatively new phenomenon that has gained popularity in recent years.

Not least of all because of the part it may play in alleviating California's housing crisis.

VIDEO: A look at life in Northern California's first and only (legal) tiny house community

ABC7 and The Bold Italic, a Medium-owned publication that covers life in the Bay Area, partnered up to get a glimpse at what life is really like in Northern California's only (legal) tiny house community -- and explore the potential for more of these homes popping up in the future.

"The lack of affordable housing is just an epidemic here. How do we address that?," said Nick Mosley.

Mosley runs a company that helps build tiny houses.

He works with individuals, corporations and local governments - making homes for everyone from those experiencing homelessness to people who just want to downsize their lifestyle.

"We haven't seen any let off of purchases, of interest, since we started. It just seems like it keeps growing and growing," Mosley said.

But tiny home advocates say they aren't just a solution for problems like unaffordable housing and getting people off the streets, they're also a way to help protect the environment.

Sam Ausden has been living in his self-made tiny home for five years.

WATCH: What it's like at the newest (and most colorful) tiny home village for unhoused young people in Oakland

The homes are being set aside for homeless and at-risk youth in Oakland and Berkeley. Take a look inside.

Everything from his bed, to his family photos to his cooking utensils all fit comfortably in his portable house on wheels.

Ausden says besides the liberation his minimalistic lifestyle provides, it also gives him a way to take action for a climate in crisis.

"Just this week in California, you've got heat waves, you've got blackouts, you've got wildfires, wildfire smoke. All this stuff is happening from climate change," he said.

Ausden is currently working on an extension to his home, and encourages others to consider the perks tiny spaces have to offer.

An option that, he says, is becoming more and more affordable for everyone.

"The technology's that are maturing. The price of solar panels has dropped significantly over the last ten years. Battery technology has improved. And there's some really cool stuff that's coming online now that's able to have people live a new reality in their life," Ausden said.

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