Our Backyard Porta-Homes
THE HOUSING CRISIS
People know us for our the world's first porta potty tiny home. But there's more to Our Backyard Homes than provocative housing. Our Backyard Homes' goal is to end college student homelessness and ease the housing crisis in Los Angeles through affordable, portable micro-housing alternatives.
Affordable housing in cities like LA is disappearing. But there *is* space to ease the burden. Backyards and free plots of land for smaller, more affordable housing units. But the use of that land is restricted. The city of LA just proposed a law to allow moveable tiny houses and we are part of that conversation. With the LA Planning Commission ready to review the benefits and drawbacks of the law, more than ever we need your support to make sure our voice is heard.
Our Porta-Home is specifically designed to combat the affordable housing crisis in America's big cities. With a portable, low-footprint, and self-contained micro-dwelling, our design empowers both the resident and the landowner with an easy roll-in, roll-out housing option.
The prototype was built for Southern California--using abundance of sun for energy and maximizing exterior space for use outdoors--but it can be adapted to any climate. It has a Murphy bed with underside desk, an air-water generator that creates 10 gallons of water a day, and a gray water system that pumps up to a rooftop garden. Entirely off-grid. And yet it's cheaper, quicker, and easier than building permanently.
Why students? These young men and women trying to better their future with higher education but unable to afford rent. Where I live, 1 in 5 community college students here are homeless. 1 in 10 Cal State University students are homeless. Despite studying to better their future, many drop out due to financial instability and housing insecurity. And still enter the workforce with student debt.
YOUR FUNDING HELPS US DO THE FOLLOWING:
1) FINISH THE BUILD
To make our unit functional, we still need to install water and solar features, as well as lighting, wiring, and the gray water and rooftop garden integrated system (what is shown in video and pictures for concept display). Also, improvements for functionality, like securing the canvas covering for travel and adding increased security features.
2) ADVOCATE FOR TINY HOMES IN BIG CITIES
We need to show our home in action! I will personally live in the unit, touring it around LA (and visiting other locales nationally!) to raise awareness about moveable tiny homes. Transportation and travel costs add. up. Your support helps us keep publicizing my experiences online and at events, and take time off work to sit down with communities, landowners, and officials.
3) PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
We need to continue innovating our design of future homes to meet the needs of emerging laws and growing need. Our ultimate goal is establishing a program to house folks in these homes. That includes serving homeless college students suffering from housing insecurity, an integral part of our long-term plan. Right now we're purely volunteer-run. Help us grow bigger.
We vow to work hard to honor your support. So thank you for contributing. Let's grow our community together!
TK Devine, Founder of Our Backyard Homes
Why a convert porta potty into a tiny home? Because like solutions for LA's housing-deprived, we're proving dignified living can be found in the most unexpected of places. My tour aims to prove that point further, showing our unit in action, not only livable but desirable, just like the future of tiny homes on wheels in our cities. For all involved.
Future homes will not be built out of porta potties, instead using designs that more closely resemble their neighborhood aesthetic. But our homes will incorporate the innovative technology that makes them perfect for the big city. We have plans for a variety of models, all of which abide by requisite tiny home standards.
Many ask about cost. Most of the housing solutions put forth under the recently passed city and county homeless housing measures cost an average of $200,000+. We believe we can build our porta homes for a fraction of the cost. The prototype cost us in the low $20s, materials and labor. We believe our charity homes, properly scaled, can be built for half that.
We want mobile tiny homes in cities to be legal. Not just Los Angeles--every city.
Our long-term growth includes a commercial effort to support the charity, with a 5-for-1 plan where every 5 commercial sales builds 1 scholarship home. With an eye towards scholarship homes priced below the $15k mark, this goal is well within reach.
Everyone involved is helping the community itself--meaning we all benefit. Our program will match landowners with backyards or unused or neglected residential parcels with residents facing housing insecurity--starting with college students here in LA. All participants are vetted and matches go through a series of steps to ensure qualification and compatibility.
Interested in partnering with or sponsoring Our Backyard Homes? Send us a private message or visit us at www.ourbackyardhomes.org . Thank you!
The CBS segment is up! Such wonderful coverage by Jennifer and CBS Los Angeles, thank you for giving us air time!!!
1) do not reply to my FB. i did not give site permission to its access. 2)jamieleighkahn@rocketmail 3) what a super-awesome fabulous thing to do! great idea! 4) ive been homeless for 18 months after 45% rent increase in Santa Cruz, Ca. 5) i'd be totally down for something like this to live in! forever! 6) unbelievable so many homeless students! 7)municipalities should be given this as an option to care for homeless in their communities. 8) i wholeheartedly wish you the best of luck with this invention and thank you for providing reasonable accommodations for homeless. 9) composting toilets? 10) shave the price in half. i know you can. sincerely, Rev. Jamie K
Just learning how to comment! First of all, Melissa, I contacted you by email. The short answer is yes--with lots of qualifiers. Carol, we've talked as well. Jae, I'm sorry to hear about your plight but thank you for the kind words. This project is about fighting perception as much as anything, so issues like cost and sewage will be weighed to determine just what is best for our mission. As of now, the per-unit cost is consistent with the cheapest among the other relatively similar, portable solutions. But cost aside, we need to ensure the public will accept the concept before we can start subtracting from the aesthetically pleasing and functional elements of the prototype. Excited to give this all a shot though. Thanks for the support.
Perhaps TK would rather contact the media himself (thought I would save him time, a commodity right now, probably more valuable than money so if he doesn't comment on this I will write him and ask if he wants me to. ) As for the person who says 20K, is a lot, it's NOT if you read what he wrote here, there is a lot of conversion and he won't be using the Portapotties, this is NOT a lucrative gig, get rich scheme for him but rather a labor of love for humanity.
As Columbo says, "one more thing" . I looked at his website and he IS selling them, so go to his WEBSITE if you want to buy so he can be quickly notified directly without scrolling through all the comments. As a rather shy person (in some ways) I am not good at calling people or fund raising but I WILL write to Curbed, Tree Hugger, NYTImes, Washington Post, Atlantic, New Yorker, Nation, Newsweek, Time, Mother Jones, to ask them to write a story and get as much publicity on this as they can. When I move I will ask him if he knows someone who can sell my stuff and that he trusts to give it all proceeds to him.
I may be wrong and if so, TK, will remove this comment, but this site is primarily set up to raise funds for his company to help his dream come true. That being said, there are some comments that seem to hint that they want him to sell or provide them or homeless congregants a home, and I don't think he can do so at this point. Use the comment section here to by offering to help raise money, offering to call friends and strangers asking them to donate money or holding fundraisers and contact his site asking to be put on a waiting list or whatever for his homes and there's another reason also not to post here with requests. This is a public forum, never EVER put your real email where you can get spammed OR your phone number which goes without saying. There is also no need to as we have to use facebook so one can't be anonymous commenting but at least it gives one a venue for others to contact you withOUT giving that info. And because he is very busy it's best you write or email him as it would take him less time to reply than initiate the correspondence.
Hi TK, you and I have communicated in the past. I was interested in a pre-fab unique housing and came upon this https://www.curbed.com/2017/9/6/16222342/prefab-tiny-smart-affordable-housing, not housing for the homeless but for poorer people who felt that they could never afford to buy a home, but the interesting thing was this concept came out of a project he did which was living in a dumpster. What he wanted to show was how by living smaller, was living more lightly on the earth and also to making housing more affordable. With his new company he can make more money and I had the unmitigated gall and chutzpah to suggest that he get in touch with you maybe develop a project together but if not use some of the proceeds to help YOUR project, which you may be too shy or polite to bring up if you DID talk to him LOL! Maybe it will go straight to the round file (or today just say delete) but I think your idea will intrigue him enough to contact you or say you, him, got nothing to lose, all he can do is say no (shades of Nancy R.!!) Here are the sites to his new company and his project and watch the video of the link in the beginning, quite interesting! http://dumpsterproject.org/#home https://kasita.com
20,000 each? That is still a lot for this.
I have a friend who has been homeless off and on for most of his life. We are in northern LA County. We have been trying to think of a good solution for him. I saw above in your comment to Melissa that these may be available for purchase. Can you please contact me about that? We would love to get involved and maybe help with construction or something. My husband and I built a skoolie (converted school bus) and lived in it with our family of 5 for 3 years. So we get tiny living! Thanks for doing this great project!
Thanks, April! Your support is appreciated in whatever form! I appreciate you sharing this with others.
Thank you for the kind words, Crystallee. I'm so sorry to hear about your family's plight. I hope you find a stable situation soon. And Sunny, thanks for your comment, too. I am best by email at the moment, what with the swell of responses coming in on many fronts (all while trying to fit in working, eating, and sleeping!) but I will contact you soon. Thank you.
Would be so fortunate if my family could get a small home to call our own my husband and two young kids lost everything in house fire and been homeless since it's great what your doing and people are fortunate for your help I know my family would
Hello sir can you give me a call 2482526000
I need to get a hold of TK Devine we have a homeless ministry and what he is doing is great would like to talk to you,please contact me carolws.384@ gmail.com i live in dayton,ohio but are homeless ministry is in Greene County,ohio,please i will only take up 5 minutes of your time