Cambridge will partner with the University of Waterloo’s school of architecture to build a tiny home prototype and learn more about how to make the space work for individuals and the community.
University researchers are already in phase one of a two-phase project looking at tiny homes, which are often used as a way to combat homelessness by giving people a small space to call their own.
The city will provide $15,000 for the researchers to build the prototype.
Coun. Scott Hamilton moved the motion to enter the partnership during a council meeting Tuesday evening and said the more information they can have on how to combat the issue of homelessness, the better.
“We are experiencing not just a housing crisis, but housing crises — anything from millennials with good jobs that can’t afford a home to those amongst our population that are facing some adverse circumstances that need some help, maybe what could be called for lack of a better term sometimes, affordable housing,” he said.
The partnership opportunity, he said, is “a fantastic opportunity to, I think, solidify for the community and for ourselves what exactly a tiny home is because everyone thinks they know what a tiny home is, but then you start speaking to everyone, everyone has a different idea of what a tiny home is.”
Not a solution, but helps
Coun. Donna Reid said she “got really excited” about the partnership and what the city could learn from it.
“We are in a crisis of housing and we need to do everything we possibly can in order to see that people can have housing that is affordable and attainable and that we can end homelessness for those people who are on the streets,” she said.
Coun. Mike Devine agreed that tiny homes are “something that needs to be investigated.”
“This is not going to be a solution to the housing shortage, but it will be a help and every little bit helps,” he said.
Coun. Jan Liggett did raise one concern and that is that the tiny homes create an actual “livable space” so people can be comfortable.
“I want to make sure [that] the quality of life is going to be there, too, rather than squeeze somebody into the smallest space we can put it in,” she said.
Council voted unanimously to support the project. A report on the project’s progress is expected to come back to council before the end of the year.