tinyhome (7)

Homeless Oaklanders Built a “Miracle” Village

Article in The Guardian, words and great photos by Gabrielle Canon, Tuesday May 11, 2021

Homeless Oaklanders were tired of the housing crisis. So they built a “miracle” village.

Tucked under a highway overpass in West Oakland, just beyond a graveyard of charred cars and dumped debris, lies an unexpected refuge.

There’s a collection of beautiful, small structures built from foraged materials. There’s a hot shower, a fully stocked kitchen and health clinic. There’s a free “store” offering donated items including clothes and books, and a composting toilet. There are stone and gravel paths lined with flowers and vegetable gardens. There’s even an outdoor pizza oven.

The so-called ‘Cob on Wood’ center has arisen in recent months to provide amenities for those living in a nearby homeless encampment, one of the largest in the city. But most importantly, it’s fostering a sense of community and dignity, according to the unhoused and housed residents who came together to build it. They hope their innovative approach will lead to big changes in how the city addresses its growing homeless population.…

Now, roughly five months since they broke ground, a community has coalesced around the space that not only hosts events and workshops but also offers food, hygiene, and skill-sharing to the estimated 300 people who live in nearby encampments.

‘It is working,’ Schusterman says, smiling broadly. ‘This is the vision we had and it is working like a miracle.’

(I’m not showing photos due to copyright considerations.)

From Maui Surfer

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Two Tiny Homes by Ward Hensill

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A few more photos of Ward Hensell’s tiny buildings. www.bodegaportablebuildings.com.

To conform with state laws of max. 8′ wide on roads, he adds the pop-outs after arrival at site. The one with red trim was added to an existing house as second story.

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Tiny Homes by Ward Hensell, Bodega Portable Buildings

A few weeks ago, I dropped in on Ward Hensell, who builds tiny structures (Bodega Portable Buildings) in Sonoma County, Calif.

These are my favorite tiny homes; they are built with 1⅛″ plywood, so no framing necessary, and the pop-outs are a unique feature, both visually and practically. He says buildings this small don’t need insulation (at least in Calif. climate becuz they’re so small). The pop-outs don’t count as floor space, so you’re still within county rules where no permit is necessary for an under–120 sq. ft. structure.

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Manufactured Homes in Petaluma, California

Stephen Marshall has been building small- and medium-sized homes for 50 years now. Here’s a walk-through tour of one:

Sonoma Manufactured Homes – a partner company with Little House on the Trailer – builds Accessory Dwelling Units (aka ADUs, Second Units, Granny Flats, Prefabs) both HUD approved manufactured homes and RVIA certified Recreational Trailers.

Sonoma Manufactured Homes is located in Petaluma, CA and serves the North Bay Area including all of Sonoma County, Napa County, Marin County, and Solano County. Shipment to other areas can be arranged.

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Interior of Little 10′ by 10′ Cabin

For tiny homes, I like the curved roof (as in vardos or Gypsy cabins). It gives you a feeling of spaciousness, as opposed to, say, the typical steep gable roof used in tiny homes. Another factor, which I learned from master builder Lloyd House, was to have windows at eye level; this focuses your attention on the outside, and the room feels much larger than it actually is.

The paneling is from a recycled hot tub. I had the staves band-sawed. Insulation is with recycled denim. Most of the work on this was done by Billy Cummings.

More details on this building are in The Half-Acre Homestead.

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