Tiny home project hits roadblock under Rock Hill ordinances - | WBTV Charlotte

Tiny home project hits roadblock under Rock Hill ordinances

(Kristi O'Connor | WBTV) (Kristi O'Connor | WBTV)

As housing costs continue to increase, it is getting harder and harder for people to find affordable housing. One York County man is starting a non-profit to help people who make $20 an hour or less buy their own home.

Rock Hill Attorney Dale Dove says the unaffordable housing crisis is separate from the homeless issue. He is targeting people who are working but still cannot afford to buy their own home.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a person should not pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing. If they do pay more, they are considered "cost burdened."

However, Dove says, with most apartments in Charlotte and Rock Hill costing $1,000 a month or more for a two bedroom, it is hard to stay under that 30 percent recommendation, especially for people making minimum wage to $20 an hour.

"As housing goes up, as energy prices go up, they are getting further and further behind - and there is no light at the end of the tunnel," Dove said.

He says he is referring to people who are starting out as teachers, firefighters, and police officers.

He built a tiny home with those people in mind. One model is 8 by 18 feet, 128 square feet total. Another model is about 12 by 14 feet, or 168 square feet. To put that into perspective, it is larger than a walk-in closet but not bigger than a one car garage.

Dove says you can buy the tiny homes for $12,000. Financed at 4.5 percent for 10 years, you would pay roughly $125 a month. For a person making minimum wage, that is far less than 30 percent of your income if you work 40 hours.

"It’s got a bed, it’s got a place to sit and entertain, it’s got a regular size refrigerator and washer and dryer, it’s got a 36 inch shower and toilet," Dove described.

But, he says he is running into a roadblock.

"The problem is it's not legal for a human to be living in it," Dove said.

Under Rock Hill zoning laws, houses cannot be less than 850 square feet, and they must have two bedrooms. Dove says putting requirements on how large your home has to be is unfair.

"These are respectable jobs, but we've created rules that keep people from having houses that they can afford," Dove said.

He is continuing to spread the word about his tiny home idea until he can get local ordinances to change. If they do, the tiny homes would be built under his non-profit known as ReNu Housing.

As far as the property these tiny homes would be built on, he is still trying to figure that out. He hopes that they could be built in the backyards of already existing homes, church properties, or even tiny home subdivisions.

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