I just blogged about this over at The Cooper Cabin. They are Katrina Cottages and are low cost but significant upgrades over the FEMA trailers designed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As soon as I saw them and some other low impact houses over the years, I canâ€™t help but think of them as a solution for homelessness in Saskatoon (and other urban centres).
I would give residents a chance for low cost home ownership with a mortgage that is half of what rent would be for a small house. You could set up a development like that like a condo board in that you could define qualifications for home ownership as well as conditions on reselling. I know a lot of urban centres have concerns with developments like this but it is all in how they are maintained. I have seen gorgeous trailer parks over the years who looked a lot like suburbia everywhere else in the world. Plus, a lot of these cottages are the same size as hundreds of small homes in Mayfair, Riversdale, Pleasant Hill, King George, and Westmount so it isnâ€™t as if small housing is a new thing.
At $45, you could offer housing for under $30,000 a house plus land. With the right urban planning, you could create a great addition to the community and help a lot of low income families out. The low mortgage payments would be fed back into the community in the form of discretionary income, be able to be set aside for retirement, or be saved up for future housing as the families grow up and their housing needs change.