Is something always better than nothing? I would say that’s debatable, certainly when it comes to the current vogue for tiny homes reported in The Guardian at the weekend.
Micro homes the size of a trailer or van have increased in popularity, with 19,000 more households in England and Wales living in temporary mobile structures in the last decade.
Factory-built tiny houses are also now being used by local government throughout the country as an affordable housing measure, including 33 micro pods measuring 24 sq m each in Haringey, as well as sites in Cornwall and Bristol.
Of course having a secure space of your own, no matter how small, is better than sleeping rough, and the solutions mentioned above are designed to provide emergency temporary accommodation.
But there’s also a growing number of younger people hunting down plots of land where they can put their own such homes, at a cost somewhere between £30,000 and £100,000. This does not seem like a healthy solution to the affordable housing crisis.
These homes cost the same as a decent deposit yet the limits on space are such that you would have to consider if you might ever want to live with a partner, have children or, I don’t know, stand up straight in your bedroom before committing to one.
A significant proportion of the population lives in an under-occupied home, many people have more than one. Are they really asking other, usually younger, people to settle for rabbit hutch lives, and doing it with a straight face?
This is not the best we can offer. Throughout the twentieth century, state housebuilding provided hundreds of thousands of well sized, conveniently located homes for people who could not afford to build their own.
It was not cheap. But it was possible then and would be now – where there’s a will there’s a way.