There is an increase in homelessness since many do not meet the given qualifications for home. Research indicates that the primary cause of homelessness is the inability to pay for housing, often caused by low income and high housing costs. High demand in the rental arena, in many countries, enables renters to increase prices at a rate that has kept pace with national home values.

Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has made things much worse as the knock-on effects of homelessness are becoming a public health concern. People living in poor-quality houses cannot follow public health directives safely “shelter-in-place.” As a result, they are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, along with other chronic illnesses. Low-income households are at risk of losing their jobs due to disruptions in the labor market. These households are at risk of losing their homes to eviction or foreclosure. So, what affordable housing options are available?

Tiny Homes/Houses

Tiny homes or houses developed in response to the 2008 recession, i.e. rising home prices, and growing demand for mobility and sustainability.  They are temporary or permanent living spaces, usually between 100 and 600 square feet. They offer a relatively low-cost living, eco-friendly designs, and lifestyle flexibility. With or without wheels, they have become a genuine phenomenon appealing to a wide range of consumers. For instance, the adventure seekers, the environmentally conscious, and people hoping to downsize their life have flocked to tiny home builders for their chance to “live small.”

Notably, the demand for tiny homes is growing. According to Research and Markets forecast, the global tiny home market is expected to rise at a CAGR of 7% between 2020 and 2024. A survey by the National Association of Home Builders shows that more than half of Americans would consider living in a home that’s less than 600 square feet. For millennials, that figure is way higher. For these reasons, it makes sense to consider tiny houses as a low-cost solution to the homelessness crisis.

However, despite their widespread popularity and potential, some challenges come with tiny home living. Prominent among these are the restrictive land-use ordinances, inapt “camping” bans, and the unpredictability of getting planning permission. These have made tiny homes an impossible enterprise. In the UK, the planning laws are purposed to protect specific locales. While this can prevent unacceptable building and land use, it often leads to a lack of space and inequality of access.

It, perhaps, isn’t as bad as it may sound. You can actualize your dreams of a minimalist lifestyle in a tiny home built with pocket-friendly MEP designs.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

Another option you might want to consider is ADUs, also referred to as granny flats, guest houses, or casitas. Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are permanent, self-contained housing units located on the same property as a single-family home. They belong to a larger property. However, they come with a separate bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, and living room. Unlike tiny homes which can be as little as 400 square feet or less, ADUs can be up to 800 to 1000 sq. ft. Thus, they can serve better as full-time residences, while they are not as big as the regular apartment (1500 sq. ft.).

Already, some people have recognized them essentially as an affordable housing option for renters as well as homeowners. For example, converting a garage into an ADU can provide housing to older children who need independence, elderly family members, caretakers, guests, or friends. Note that ADUs can be attic apartments, apartments above the garage, carve-outs of the main property, and the likes. Whatever the choice, ADUs generate an income to make ownership more affordable for the homeowners also. It may please you to know that regulations hindering the development of ADUs have been lowered recently. You can now lease out ADUs alongside your home.

ADUs generally enjoy a reasonable degree of acceptability. For instance, two years after California’s bill passed, Los Angeles ADUs building permits have surged by a factor of 30. They have been identified by the affordable housing task force for cities and counties as an opportunity to expand affordable housing stocks. A homeowner should explore access to loan capitals, find opportunities to add significant equity to your home, and earn a stream of rental income through AUDs.


If you’re struggling with rentals, you might want to consider a tiny home or ADU as affordable housing options. Apart from being affordable, they are comfortable and ecofriendly. But should you have concerns about your comfort and maximizing space, you can approach an MEP design firm to help you with that. Likewise, if you’re a homeowner seeking to create more affordable houses, you can set up ADU with the help of structural engineering companies or MEP design firms – and make more money.