More focus on tiny houses

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To the Editor:

The July 16 editorial “Tiny houses,” about housing, was great, and to the point. We need to augment the “business-as-usual” mode to leapfrog more people into affordable housing. I want to thank The Times for starting this ball rolling.

It was your interview (Valerie Sonnenthal, The Local, “A Visit With Kathy Rose”) with a tiny house pioneer that got me thinking of possible models to allow responsible, pleasing, tiny house communities to be established on the Island. I would not have sent you my email if you hadn’t published the article on Kathy Rose.

To give credit where credit is due, The Times is responsible for the positive flurry of activity that has occurred in the past two weeks among a number of people on the Island who look at tiny houses as a unique way to get people into affordable housing.

We have formed a new group, The Island Coalition for Affordable Housing, with our sister island Nantucket. This group is looking at ways to bring affordable housing to a wider group of residents on the Islands.

We need to keep the interviews, editorials, and articles coming on a regular basis into The Times, so I hope other members of this group are willing to share what they are thinking about your editorial and comment on it. This needs to be kept in front of the public’s eyes — and we want to hear the public’s comments, both positive and negative.

The negative comments will help us understand the issues and concerns that the general public might have with tiny house communities. This gives us time to formulate responses that we can use in our bigger presentations to the state.

We recognize that amid our Island affluence, many Islanders will never experience the joy of home ownership, as traditional houses are priced out of their reach.

An alternative, such as a tiny house — we refer to them as Tiny Affordable Housing Units (TAHU) and Tiny Affordable Housing Villages (TAHV) — might bridge this gap, because the scale of the footprint and the cost of such housing is within their grasp.

We recognize that tiny houses are not for everyone. No single solution will solve our housing shortage. This is one solution of the many that are needed, and, for some people, it is the perfect solution.

The lack of affordable housing has economic ripple effects: Workers can’t afford housing, so they don’t come here to work; businesses needing employees can’t hire them, because they have no place for them to stay; and frustrated Island workers move away.

Your article has started a movement. Let’s encourage others to comment on affordable housing and tiny houses.

Once again, my thanks to you for helping drive this movement.

Mike Mitchell

Oak Bluffs