I began preparing this proposal while in self-isolation after traveling. As I worked to clarify the details, I have seen the efforts by all levels of government to manage COVID-19 and observed the changing public mood on social feeds. Through all of this I am encouraged by an inspiration that our tiny home initiatives, could become a new positive national focus, post pandemic.

The Tiny Town Association, a Not-For-Profit corporation formed in September of 2017, is working to enable tiny homes as an affordable and social housing option in Canada. We have created a housing model that strengthens the development of community, provides affordable housing for a broad range of people, as well as a path for those transitioning from social housing and homelessness for:

  • veterans,
  • indigenous and people in remote locations,
  • people with disabilities,
  • people fleeing abuse and domestic violence,
  • seniors, empty nesters, those looking for a vehicle to age in place,
  • first-time homeowners, singles, couples,
  • single parent & young families.

Can our model help everyone, everywhere? Not directly, but those that fit the demographic can move into tiny homes, freeing up existing housing for those that don’t.

In 2018, I prepared a presentation for the Canadian Institute of Planners, World Town Planning Day Conference about how tiny homes can be used as 21st-Century Affordable Housing. In the presentation I demonstrated that 6.72% of the population fit the tiny home demographic. This means that over 2.5 million Canadians could directly benefit from our proposed housing initiatives and potentially another 1.5 million Canadians would benefit indirectly, through access to existing housing. In 2019, CMHC made it their goal to develop affordable housing for the 1.7 million households with identified, core housing needs. We believe that enacting our tiny home plans could help CMHC reach its 2030 housing goal.

I have had many conversations with architects, designers, builders and developers and a point they all agree on is that affordable housing becomes less affordable, with each resale of the dwelling. Our initiatives will expand the availability of affordable housing in urban and rural centers, using a model that ensures they remain affordable for future generations.

Project Details

We are seeking $149.2M in construction financing over 4 phases to build a demonstration Tiny Town. The community will operate off-grid, using solar & wind to power the homes, an anaerobic digester to process organic & septic waste and will operate its own water collection, storage & filtration system. It will encourage community living, in an environmentally friendly design. The community at Phase IV will include 516 tiny homes.

Phase I will consist of 48 tiny homes, in 4 neighbourhoods of 12 tiny homes each plus the infrastructure to support the complete development, costing $21.7M.

Phase II – IV will expand the development, adding another 156 tiny homes across 13 neighbourhoods, at a cost of $42.5M per phase. Here are the key points in the funding plan:

  • One neighbourhood (12-homes) will be used to provide accommodation for dignitaries that we will invite from cities, towns, and municipalities across Canada. We believe the best way to appreciate this form of housing development, is by experiencing it firsthand.
  • Up to one home in each of 39 neighbourhoods will be available to transition participants off social housing support, under our ARTO Program. This would be funded by the host city.

  • 504 homes would be sold to people interested in affordable living in the community. This would bring in a total of $58.7M and be applied against the construction financing.

  • The project will collect $25.2M in cooperative membership fees that will be applied against the construction financing.

  • The project will require that $21.7M be provided as a grant (14.4% of the total project cost).

  • Once the development is complete and all sales are completed, the balance of $43.6M would be converted to a traditional 30-year mortgage.

The $21.7M grant (14.4% of the total development cost) is $42,054 per home site, and these sites will be affordably available to Canadians for generations to come. The property and common elements are cooperatively owned by the tiny homeowners living in the town. Members will eventually be able to move to a cooperative Tiny Town in another city, by simply taking their home with them. Without having to sell a home or property to move, the initial grant funding will enable this housing option to remain affordable indefinitely. As a homeowner’s family dynamic changes, they will be better prepared to step into traditional home ownership when they sell their home and leave the cooperative, having amassed some equity.

We are not developers, builders, or project mangers. We have created the community plan, tiny home designs, along with an ownership model that sets in motion a way for tiny homes to become an affordable housing option in Canada. We have a growing group of companies that bring experience in all phases of this development, along with a project management team that will ensure the site is built on-time, on-budget and to our exacting specifications. (see company list)

This project could be revealed to the public/media around the same time that the stop of the advancement of COID-19 is announced. We will embark on a media campaign that would follow the community’s development from concept to home occupation. This is expected to become a positive note as the country transitions from a stressful time in isolation.

While traditional high-density housing construction is limited to a few large corporations, tiny homes can be constructed by many smaller builders. Introducing tiny homes as an affordable housing option, along with a new economic opportunity for business building and supplying the tiny home industry, is expected to capture the media’s interest while providing the pubic with a positive point of focus. This project will have national impact as we work to establish Tiny Towns everywhere, including remote locations.

I would welcome the opportunity to provide more information on our project via email, a video chat or phone call to answer any questions you may have and discuss next steps to make this project a reality.

Yours in tiny + affordable housing,

Ed Peterson

Partner Companies

The following list includes companies, organizations, and institutions that we have worked with to date. They have provided demonstration products, services, consultations, and quotes, on different aspects of our tiny home designs, construction, and our Tiny Town developments. The final mix of companies working on this project will depend on their availability to participate at the time the project commences. (list is alphabetical)