Tiny homes popping up on Detroit vacant lots

Posted at 5:52 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 17:52:42-04

A community of tiny houses will be soon popping up on vacant lots in Detroit.

The first of 25 homes was unveiled Thursday. "It looks like any home that you would find in Royal Oak, Birmingham or Bloomfield Hills. It's a gorgeous house," said Rev. Faith Fowler, executive director Cass Community Social Services.

You will soon see 25 homes catered to low-income individuals or couples.

"For a lot of our folks this will be the first time in their life they ever thought they could own a home."

Action News checked out the first house while it was being built last month.

Now, the 300 square foot home is done with a full kitchen and bathroom.

Jim Vella, president of the Ford Motor Company Fund, said, "A lot of people call these tiny houses, we call them tiny homes and I think the people who are going to be living here are going to be really happy and really proud and be productive members of or society."

Ford Motor Company Fund invested $400,000 and volunteers to help with the project.

"It's affordable. It's inclusive and it's pretty cool at the same time and you don't always get that in the same sentence," he added.

Twenty-five homes will be built on two vacant blocks on Woodrow and Elmhurst. Each will be 250 to 400 square feet. The monthly rent will cost a $1 per square foot, making it easier for tenants who make less than $9,000 a year.

"So often in housing programs you have to stay low-income to stay in the housing programs. We think that is backwards. We want to encourage people have more money," Fowler explained. After seven years, tenants will have the deed in their name. Until then Cass Community Services will offer help with financial planning.

"Have monthly meetings with them to talk about budgeting, debt, credit, FICA scores, and is there a way to increase income," she said.

With tiny houses sweeping the nation as the latest housing trend, some think this neighborhood may turn into a tourist spot.

"There is quite a bit of interest just from people driving by but as the word gets out about this I suspect we will have visitors from all over the country, if not, other countries," Fowler added.

Six more houses will be built by October.

That's when the first round of homeowners will move in.