A local nonprofit organization called Cass Community Social Services is spearheading the project, which will build 25 single-family homes ranging from 250 to 400 square feet. The first house was completed in September, and six more are expected to be built by the end of the year.
At least half of the 25 houses will be occupied by formerly homeless people, with seniors, college students and Cass staff members making up the rest of the population. […]
When they move in, residents will start by signing a one-year lease with a stipulated rent that amounts to no more than one third of their monthly income. They’ll continue to sign new annual leases for their first three years in the home (as long as they pay rent on time and comply with the rest of the terms).
After three years, they’ll be invited to sign a land contract that amounts to the total rent for four subsequent years. After paying that off (seven years after moving in), the resident will legally become the owner of the land and home. Their rent will have essentially bought them the house.
Fowler says the hope is that the homes can become cushions the residents can fall back on in times of crisis, and can allow them to take out loans with better interest rates.
“You have something to leave on generationally in your family, which is part of the American Dream,” [Reverend Faith Fowler, the executive director of Cass] says. […]
Once complete, the neighborhood will also be exceptional for another reason: Each tiny home will look unique. Cass purchased 25 individual sets of architectural plans, ranging from Cape Cod to Victorian to Modern styles.
“Everything is very different on purpose so people have a pride in their home,” Fowler says.
Now that the initial model house is finished, the rest of the homes are expected to be built in batches of six. Because they’re so small, each only requires five weeks of construction and costs an estimated $40,000 to $50,000.
The development is completely funded by private money, much of which has come in the form of grants from organizations like the Ford Motor Company and the RNR Foundation. So far, Cass has raised $800,000 of the desired $1.5 million.
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