Set within a small coastal community where rent is free, but if you look closely, the house is made of an unusual element

A tiny home community allows residents to find permanent housing by living in an unusual piece of equipment.

As Americans look to cut back on their monthly spending, tiny homes have risen in popularity.

Tiny Home Village serves Santa Barbara’s homeless populationCredit: Dignity Movements

Many tiny house enthusiasts have formed groups and created their own communities as well, where rent is cheap and the sky is the limit for their custom-built tiny house designs.

However, one community, DignityMoves, opened as a ready-to-rent tiny home village in Santa Barbara last year.

It was designed to house the city’s homeless population, and after just one year, more than half of its residents were able to find a permanent home.

The community originally housed 66 people, but 36 of them live in their own living quarters today.

Read more about tiny houses

However, the building blocks of the space are a bit unconventional, as all of the units are built entirely from shipping containers.

The village is located in a former parking lot surrounded by palm trees and a mountain view.

The entire collection of homes cost $1.7 million to build last year after Santa Barbara County provided $700,000 in funding.

simple life

The tiny project homes by Boss Tiny House are built for simple but aesthetic living.

Each house has a bed, window and desk as well as an air conditioner and heater.

Throughout the tiny home community, residents have access to caseworkers, a dining hall, computer lab, and gardens.

This is in addition to Dignity Moves’ laundry, bath and shower units.

Each private space also has a lock, ensuring residents have privacy in the comfort of their own home.

“We take for granted what it’s like to be able to be on your own,” Elizabeth Funk, founder and CEO of Dignity Moves, told Insider.

Overall, there are approximately 3,500 homeless people living in Santa Barbara County, but last year, 66 of them were able to live in the new village.

Funk said that over the past year she has witnessed “shocking transformations” among the population.

There are other Dignity Moves communities established in Sonoma County and San Francisco, but there may be many more coming soon.

As for the Santa Barbara location, Funk hopes to add an additional 400 beds, but it’s unclear when that might be possible.

More tiny home communities

Other tiny home communities are increasingly popping up across the United States.

In Kennewick, Washington, there is a village called Lilac Homes that is open to people in need.

The 16 homes house the most vulnerable people in the community.

“We will be able to house the individuals that we targeted,” said Lona Hammer, a housing authority representative.

“This includes homeless veterans, homeless people with disabilities, and homeless families with children.”

Meanwhile, in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, Raven Village has 22 units on the market.

Residents have access to a community kitchen, bathrooms, showers and laundry facility, as well as staff offices and a garden.

A little home tip

If you want to live in a tiny house on your own, you’ll need to be responsible for finding and building your unit.

The most common type of unit is either a shed or an RV, both of which have pros and cons.

While RVs give you the flexibility to travel wherever you want, some city laws require you to park in certain spots only for a short period of time.

Sheds also require knowledge of the zoning laws in your state and county, as you typically cannot live in a shed on someone else’s home property.

Keep in mind that you will also be responsible for adding all required plumbing and electrical services.

You also need to make sure you have space to put your tiny house.

This means you will likely need to look for land to rent.

Spaces are routinely put up for auction on sites like Facebook Marketplace, or you can apply for land in a tiny home community.

A tiny house expert bought a tiny house for $20,000, and space-saving techniques allow them to have an extra room.

Meanwhile, a family of four can afford to live in a neighborhood full of $800,000 homes given their tiny house is priced at just $100,000.

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