First residents of Detroit tiny homes have been chosen

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

More than 120 people have applied to live in what could one day be Detroit’s largest tiny house community and the first six residents have been selected, though they haven’t been notified yet, said the head of Cass Community Social Services on Tuesday.

The first residents, who are all low-income and had to meet certain guidelines, will be allowed to move in after Detroit grants an occupancy permit for the six tiny homes near Elmhurst and M-10 in Detroit, said the Rev. Faith Fowler of Cass. All six houses should be finished by June 1.

But first, Cass is opening the six homes to the public this weekend so they can see inside before they become a resident’s home. Cass’ Tiny Homes Progressive Home Tour, which will also include “tiny treats” in each house, kicks off Thursday at 9 a.m. and runs through Saturday. Tickets are $75 each or $100 for two.

“There’s such interest in these homes. People are stopped all the time in front of them — parking, taking videos,” said Fowler. “We thought this would be the last time people could see inside these six homes.”

Construction started last year on a model unit for the tiny homes project, a $1.5 million enterprise that has drawn attention from all over the world because of its size and its potential to address low-income housing and the redevelopment of blighted neighborhoods.

Fowler said 1974 was the last time something was built in the neighborhood where these six homes now stand.

“And it was a garage,” she said.

But tiny home living won’t be for everyone. The homes range in size from 250 to 400 square feet. They have basic amenities such as bed, table, sofa and appliances, but no bedroom. They’re not intended for families.

Fowler said each home is built in a completely different architectural style so residents will take pride in their home.

Construction, meanwhile, continues as funding comes in. Fowler said they already have funding in place to build three more tiny homes on Detroit’s Richton Street this summer. All of the homes are being built on vacant lots where abandoned homes once stood.

And more homes will be built as funding is secured; the proceeds from this weekend’s progressive tour will go toward building more houses.

Applicants, meanwhile, will have to wait a bit more to find out who is among the lucky six to live in the first homes. Each home is rent to own based on square footage.

“We haven’t announced who is going to move in because I don’t want people driving me absolutely crazy,” said Fowler with a laugh on Tuesday. “It’s out of control.”

Twitter: @mfeighan