With the catastrophic wildfires in Northern Cal, we have a unique opportunity to advance the value of tiny housing. While “the homeless” were previously limited to the socio-economic class of “powerless”, we now have 6000 new members who represent the full range of power, mobility and political connection. It’s true that tiny houses could be a great benefit for the fire victims, and local entrenched bureaucracies are bending over backward to allow RVs and tiny houses as a temporary solution for these newly homeless citizens.
I contend that this is a key moment to step forward and demand that any and all “temporary” rights that are being granted to the fire victims be extended to all members of the homeless and under housed community. Just because a wildfire wakes people up to the issues of the affordable housing crisis is no reason for these temporary measures to be limited in duration.
I ask that all tiny House advocates step forward and attend local public meetings to voice this glaring truth. Access to affordable housing is a right for every citizen, and it is time for the new members of the homeless community to use their economic and political power to change the NIMBY laws forever. They need to ask themselves “how does “not in my back yard” apply when I no longer have a backyard or neighborhood, and how can I justify my need for affordable housing as being any different from someone who is not a fire victim?
I want to see new regulations for clearing burned property of toxic ash, exposing the underground utility connections, making those connections, and placing tiny houses on every single family property that has enough space to retain future fire safety. I also want this legislation to allow tiny houses to remain after reconstruction with rents limited to a below market standard, with no short term rentals and with rent increases limited to a cost of living index.