My wife Julia ran across this in the most recent issue of Natural Home Magazine. It’s a low-income housing initiative started by Dan and Marsha Phillips in Texas called The Phoenix Commotion. They are taking mostly discarded stuff and building small homes with the people that need them. It sounds like Habitat for Humanity but at a much more grass roots level and the homes are truly affordable.
Here are some examples of the houses they build. Photo credit The Phoenix Commotion. Be sure to watch the video below.
From what I’ve learned so far it seems there are some communities that embrace low cost alternative housing and those that essentially block it with codes, zoning, fees, and taxes. I don’t think they intend to be raising road blocks to this kind of thing… I think they are trying to protect people and their own home values. For example here in California there are a bunch of new rules surfacing around rural homes and fire safety. While these seem to be protecting the public, home owners, firefighters, etc, its these same rules that in effect block a tiny home builder.
For example lets say you could build a small house for less than $20,000 by doing most of the labor yourself and choosing materials wisely. Getting a permit to build such a house might cost half that in some counties. Add the utility hookups and the price shoots much higher.
I’d love to do this too. The biggest challenge would be finding a community with enough vision to allow it to happen.
I’d love to start something like this in California! I wonder how he deals with the land issues? Do they all buy their own property and then build on it or does he own the land? Love the idea of the picture frame corners. He really does build Dr. Suess style doesn’t he?
What Dan is doing with Phoenix Commotion is really inspiring! I wish more areas of the country would have zoning allowances and visionary building departments that would allow more of these “developments”. When people get really involved with building their own house the effects can be profound.
Great website Michael!
God bless this guy!!! I am a single mom of two and Im trying to buy an old house and fix it up from scraps on a tips (waitress). Its amazing that he does so much with what he is given…he has really inspired me.