Living tiny in Portland for $300/month


– We bought this house and crammed eight people into one lot. We survive because the
neighbors don’t rat us out, and everybody loves us apparently. So it also helps that
our tiny houses are cute and not janky sheds. – [Narrator] Portland, Oregon
is known of the epicenter of the tiny home movement. Tiny communities are cropping
up throughout the region. However city policies regarding
tiny houses are complicated. They’re mostly illegal. So how are tiny home
residents pulling this off? We visited one tiny
community to figure out how. This is Simply Home, it’s
composed of eight residents, ages 17 months to 53 years old. – People here are my landies, so instead of roomies, where
you share like a house, we share land. – They’re my friends and
practically my family at this point, they’re my tribe. – [Narrator] It’s essentially
a backyard village made out of three tiny
homes and one big house. The 1,400 square foot single-family home is the community’s heart. – Hannah. – Hannah. – Hannah. – Tony Deithelm lives in the main house with his wife Aline and daughter Zaza. On paper he owns the house and the land, but he considers himself
equal to the other residents. – We are a community. I pay rent. Everybody pays rent on their spot. I don’t wanna be a landlord. – [Narrator] The city allows homes to have secondary dwellings built on a foundation, but tiny houses on wheels
are considered RVs, not fixed homes. So they’re technically not
permitted in a backyard. – Tiny houses on wheels are
still a gray area, you know? They don’t know what to do with it. They’re not an RV, they’re not really a, they’re not a manufactured
home for the most part. – [Narrator] Karin Parramore owns this 160 square foot tiny home, which is fully outfitted
with French doors, living room, kitchen, and sleeping loft. There’s electricity, internet
access, and running water, which the big house supplies. – The main reason that I
chose to live in a tiny house is I love small spaces, I’ve always moved, so I don’t accrue a lot of stuff. And the reason for moving
into a tiny house community was security. If I’m feeling lonely back
here in my little tiny, it’s really wonderful to be
able to walk up to the big house and get some companionship. – [Narrator] Karin splits the big house’s mortgage and utilities
with the other residents. Her monthly housing costs come to $300, that’s a quarter of
the average rental rate for a studio in Portland. – I have to say, it is incredibly wonderful
for us financially. (upbeat music) – [Narrator] Portland’s housing prices have soared in recent years. In 2017, they rose over 7%. A shortage of affordable
homes is forcing the city to reevaluate its tiny house laws, which were originally put in
place to prevent squatting in unsafe living conditions. But as tiny homes are
becoming better designed, and an affordable option, officials are rethinking their policies. – They just recently put
a stay on tiny houses. To ease my mind for that, I would love to the city
say that this is legal. (upbeat music) – For the first time in my life, I was living with a
multi-generational community. This is just what family is. I love the people I live with, and I would do a lot for them. – [Narrator] Jake Antles
and his girlfriend Sarah Fry are the newest Simply Home residents. They were drawn to its communal spirit, and the price was right. – I moved here because I can
work part-time at a non-profit and not get paid a whole lot, but I have incredibly affordable rent, and feel really stable and able to engage in my neighborhood. – One thing that we’ve talked about is not coming all the way over to the path, so I’m thinking it’s probably
over that way a little bit. We have a really wide variety
of people in our community, but there’s also an incredibly
wide range of belief systems. I find that to be one of the most heartening aspects of
this community actually. – [Narrator] But when a group of strangers agree to live collectively, living habits have to be negotiated too. – It’s a lot like an
eight-person relationship. We have fights, I mean we’re people, we’re humans, it happens. We just deal with it. Well hopefully. (laughs) (food sizzling) – Having a co-housing situation
means we do share activities and we share meals. And it is very important to make sure we have roles in the community. Tony takes care of all of our IT needs. Sara’s the garden Bashi, because of her interest in being outdoors. Mine is buying the bulk order, you know making sure that we have food. We spent an entire year meeting every week to craft our community living agreements. It’s constantly able to
shift and grow as we change. – [Narrator] The latest
change was the birth of Tony’s daughter, Zaza. – I mean having a toddler
kinda running around has forced us to be sort of more flexible. – You know anytime you
bring a baby into the house, you’re going to increase
laundry, increase mess. – It’s not for everybody but
I think we have a good balance and it works. (bell ringing) – Dinner! – It’s a social bond. I’m a primate, we need social connections, we need a structure
around us and a community. – [Narrator] As these
residents have shown, a true village is more than
the sum of its tiny parts. – Cheers. (glasses clinking) (laughter) (upbeat music)

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