The size of the average American home has increased more than twofold since the 1950s, but in recent years, a renewed focus on a far more minimalist way of living has gained momentum: the tiny house movement. In addition to constructing them for personal residences, many people are building tiny homes across the country in order to house the homeless population and provide them with a reasonable cost of living. Taking on the task of building a tiny house fulfills the basic human need for shelter and changes the life of a person in need for the better.

Where to Start

Contact local volunteer groups to find out where tiny houses are needed, how many are needed, and who can help build them. With a tiny house averaging anywhere from 100 to 400 square feet, it is possible to build multiple tiny houses in the same space it takes to build the standard 2,600-square-foot American home. If you can’t physically help build the tiny houses but want to help, most programs will accept donations.

What You’ll Need

person using power tool on woodIf you’re planning to build a tiny house from scratch, it will take a few weeks to obtain all of your materials, especially if you order them new rather than through online sources that might have used, reduced-cost options. Major components include windows, roofing materials, lumber, siding, and even a trailer for mobile tiny houses.

How much time it takes to build a tiny house depends on how many helping hands you have and how much experience each member has. Some projects have taken over a year, and some have been completed in less than a week.

If you’re heading up the volunteer project, it’s always a good idea to know what prices you’re looking at from the beginning. New construction costs $125 per square foot on average, but the price can increase depending on how customized the work is. This tiny house only cost $8,000 to build and includes a full bathroom, a full kitchen, and a living room.

Before you start building, you will need to verify what the zoning laws are, as they vary from location to location. Also consider that if you’re planning on using a shed as the shell for the house, it may not meet housing code. Tiny house communities are scattered across the country, and tiny houses are approved dwellings in those areas.

Benefits of a Tiny House

hands form house shape around small houseBuilding a tiny house benefits all parties involved. People in need are provided with low-cost housing, and the builders gain satisfaction from giving back to the community.

If the tiny house movement continues to expand, possible benefits include a decrease in the homeless population, additional conservation of resources, and more people owning their homes rather than being stuck in 30-year mortgages.

Read more about the benefits of tiny houses. As an added bonus, owning a tiny house built on a trailer makes moving relatively easy in the event of severe weather, a new job, or a new adventure.

Tiny house history is still in the making. As housing prices and the homeless population increase, so does the need for a practical solution. With the help of volunteers, donations, and discounted materials, building a tiny house can help those in need and foster the giving spirit.