An accessible and sustainable housing option for people with very low-incomes—through tiny houses that are safe, livable, and significantly more affordable within a community setting.
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Type: Leasehold Co-op
Size: 22 units on 1.1 acres
Status: Open since 2018
Carrying Charge: $200-300/month
Target Population: 20-50% area median income
Emerald Village Eugene (EVE) is an affordable tiny home community developed by SquareOne Villages.
It builds upon the success of Opportunity Village Eugene, which is a transitional micro-housing community for otherwise homeless individuals and couples. This next iteration of our village model provides a permanent, accessible and sustainable place to transition to.
Each of the 22 homes at Emerald Village are designed as permanent dwellings on a slab foundation—complete with sleeping and living areas, kitchenette, and bathroom—all in 160 - 288 square feet.
Various teams of Local architects and builders provided in-kind services to lead the design and construction of 14 of the tiny homes at Emerald Village—allowing for a variety of compact design and construction methods to be demonstrated. SquareOne led the design and construction of the other 8 homes using structural insulated panels (SIPs).
The individual dwellings are supported by a Community Clubhouse that includes a flexible use gathering area, community kitchen, laundry, restroom, and storage of common resources like tools and other appliances.
Construction of EVE began in May 2017 as a collaboration between local contractors, community volunteers, and future residents (each resident put in at least 50 hours of sweat equity during development stages).
As a new and innovative approach to affordable housing, the capital costs were been funded largely by private donations, and lots of in-kind contributions. In fact, we counted over 200 local business that have contributed to the project in some way.
As a result of this outpouring of support, we are we able to build Emerald Village for around just $55,000 per unit, including the cost of land.
Unlike most affordable housing projects, residents of EVE are not simply renters, they are members of a housing co-operative. And the property is held in by SquareOne Villages with the intent of retaining the asset as affordable housing in perpetuity.
A long-term ground lease ties the interests of both parties together, creating a partnership that helps ensure the longer-term viability of the co-op. SquareOne is able to serve in an advisory role, providing support to the co-op in the form of technical assistance, training, and leadership development. And due to its sustained involvement in the project, SquareOne also serves as a “mission steward” during periods of leadership change and member turnover within the co-op.
Members make monthly payments of between $200 - 300 to the co-operative to cover utilities, maintenance, long-term reserves, and all other operating costs. Each member also pays a membership fee of $50 per month—enabling them to create a modest asset that can be cashed out if, and when, they choose to leave. SquareOne retains ownership of property in trust to assure continued affordability to future members of the co-operative.
By combining the benefits of co-operative housing with safe, decent, and cost-effective tiny houses, we believe that EVE offers a an accessible and sustainable housing model that can be implemented in other communities as well.