Tiny House, Big Solution
Hey y'all, I'm Tashina.
For more than a decade, my husband, Nathan Monk has been an advocate for the homeless and families facing homlessness. For the first time in his career, he is publicly giving us insight into what drives his passion for his work. In Chasing the Mouse, he tells his own story of growing up in poverty, explaining how he felt as a child living in motels, all while dreaming of one day going on the epic family vacation his father promised would one day come.
When Nathan told me that he would buy our family a house with any money he made from selling his book about growing up in homelessness, I was inspired to build a tiny house. After doing some research, it occurred to me that there aren't resources for building [slightly larger] tiny houses for families.
Working in the area of poverty, I was already aware that tiny homes are being utilized to house homeless individuals, which I greatly admire, but I decided it was time to make family friendly floor plans so families facing homelessness could benefit from them too.
The United States leads the developed world in child poverty, with an estimated 2.5 million homeless children. My goal was to sell enough pre-orders of his book to fund this dream, so that no more children will live in the uncertainty Nathan did while growing up. We made 1/3 of our goal, which is awesome! Now, I need your help to complete our project.
About the book Chasing the Mouse
When I was a child living in homelessness, one of the perks on the nights we were lucky enough to stay in hotels, is that we were able to watch cable. My siblings and I would huddle in front of the static screen and wait for the magical moment when a little fairy would flutter over Cinderella’s Castle. For an hour and a half, we would be whisked away to a magical land where paupers could be princesses, street kids could find magic lamps, and fairy godmothers lay in waiting to fix the world with a bibbidi bobbidi boo. My father would promise that one day, once things got better and we no longer lived in dingy hotels or hopping from couch to couch, that we would visit the Happiest Place on Earth.
However, as our family's poverty and homelessness lingered into my teenage years, I began to doubt that magic existed. I became jaded and started to resent my parents. It wasn't until devoting a decade of my life to helping the homeless, that I began to learn a great deal about my own past. Learning the limitations that held my parents back from achieving their own dreams and how the system is set up for failure, but also finding that fairy godmothers are real.
Chasing the Mouse is more than simply the story of my own childhood homelessness, it is a magical journey on the road to redemption.
If you look hard enough you will see magic waiting to burst forth from every corner and that the only limitation is our own fear.
What We Need & What You Get
Building a tiny house is a pretty major task, and even though it's much more affordable than a typical, full-sized house, it still has costs associated with it. In addition to the house prototype, we’re also creating free building plans and DIY how-to videos, so we’ll need a little more equipment. Some of the immediate costs for this project include:
A trailer to build the house onto. Tiny houses are generally being built on trailers to get around building size codes. Plus, by making it a sort-of RV, it can truly be a forever family home, eliminating the need to sell and re-buy if the family needs to move.
Building supplies for the house. We hope to buy all of the supplies for our house local, reclaimed or scrap from Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore, local hardware supply shops, and utilizing craigslist and the flea market to find affordable and environmentally friendly building materials.
Solar panels, a composting toilet and a tankless water heater. One of the most important aspects of living in self sufficiency is using creative ways to lower other housing related costs such as utility bills.
Some computer software and a pancake lens for perfecting our building plans and videos.
Technically, this is a campaign for Nathan Monk's new book... so assuming you contribute at least $15, you'll receive a book with the bonus of possessing the knowledge that you are an awesome person who helped me (Tashina) build a tiny house.
In addition to your choice of an e-book or an actual printed book, take a look at our perks. You can participate in an enthusiastic high five, make an appearance in our documentary, your name can be added to a thank you page in his book or our website, among a few other things.
For shipping outside of the US, please help by adding an additional $5 for shipping. Thank you so much!!
During this busy process of publishing the book and building a tiny house, we are also releasing the documentary about homelessness and how tiny houses can and are revolutionizing housing first. Just like our how-to videos and building plans, this documentary will be available for free, as a tool to bring awareness to the importance of affordable and sustainable housing.
Tiny House T-Shirt and a combo of the tiny house tee and a copy of the book.
Why you should care
Over the next year, we will be releasing unique floor plans with interior and exterior design plans completely free. We will also be supplying our readers with step by step how-to videos on building one of our family sized tiny homes. We want this information to be free to the public because we feel that the best way to reduce excess spending and addressing the issues of family homelessness is though housing first. Our hope is that non-profits, civic groups, municipalities, and individuals will be able to use this free material in order to create free or affordable living.
By buying local and reclaimed building material and supporting local business, every little piece of the tiny home we are building will have a story, and by contributing, you can be a part the our story too.
"If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse." -Walt Disney
The Monk Family:
-Nathan: former priest, author, activist, Tashina’s muse
-Tashina: idea person, enthusiast, adventurer, Nathan’s muse
-Kira (10): avid reader, assistant idea person, aspiring wizard [and marine biologist]
-Selena (4): strong female character, head of household, wants to build a snowman
-Gideon(1): disney enthusiast, cat lover, cuteness factor
-Xena: lizard catcher, aspiring tiger, Monk family bestie
Other Ways You Can Help:
Share this campaign
Donate building materials
Offer your unique skills
"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." -Walt Disney
As the winter trudged forward, people frequently asked me, “What's happening with the tiny house?” and I gave the same answer, “We will get started in the summer.” and now the summer is finally here! So, we wanted to give everyone a detailed update on where everything is at, how close we are, and what you can do to help us meet these goals!
Trailer: This week, we picked up our custom gooseneck trailer that we will build the tiny home on. It measures in at 26’ long and 8.5’ wide. Picking out the right trailer was something I didn’t realize would be so difficult! Fortunately, we had some really awesome folks come forward to help us find exactly the right trailer. But now its time to get building!
The GoFundMe: We are 80% funded and we’ve got just a little ways left to go. Just $5,000 dollars left and we will have reached a completely funded project. We couldn’t have made it this far without you guys and we are so excited to reach our goal and move onto the build.
Documentary: Fall of this year, we will be begin releasing how-to videos of the tiny house build and the first phase of our documentary. We also just got some brand new swanky editing equipment to make the whole process move a lot smoother.
UPDATES! Now that we’ve got the trailer, the documentary is being filmed and edited, and the book is out on the shelves… you guys want to know more and more! So, we will be issuing weekly updates every Wednesday on our blog and exclusive updates, videos, and photos through our newsletter.
I asked the obligatory question of what he wanted and he said, “To be able to get started on the tiny house.” I was pretty shocked to get a real answer this time.
So, for Nathan’s birthday today I am taking over his social media and trying to make his birthday wish come true! We have nearly reached half of our tiny house goal by selling copies of the book or other perks, but today I am asking everyone to go give Nathan a birthday gift! (Of course you can still also purchase a book if you’d like.) Also, in honor of Nathan’s birthday, we have added a VERY special perk. You can be turned into a Disney character! You can claim this perk as a sketch, digital color print, and even have them custom framed and signed by the artist!
Check out our family as Disney characters below! Let’s make this a very special birthday for Nathan!
I live about an hour and a half drive west of Pensacola. I would love to help yall! Unfortunately, I am poor. I have no money to give. However, I am very resourceful, intelligent, a hard worker, and I have an amazing amount of determination. My dream/goal is to have a tiny house within the next two years. I am thirsty for knowledge of what to do and how to do it, and would do anything I can to help you, just for the experience of it. For now, I will share your campaign everywhere I can and try to get the word out to hopefully increase your donations. :-) I am hoping the best for your family and I will be following your progress!
Hello, I just discovered your discovered your website. I will be purchasing your book. I want to help with this project . I live in,Tarpon Springs ,Florida. Our family was close to being homeless. I would not give up. A feeling I never want to feel again. We need to help each other in life. So, I am sharing this with everyone I know. I work as nurse(LPN) at a local hospital. I will be in touch! Mary Sue Burns
Hello Family! I am writing to see how I might be able to help you with your dream. May I ask in what part of the country is the house being built? I am just starting my own tiny home project. I have room on my San Diego, CA property for 2 maybe 3. I plan on renting them to tourists and prospective tiny home dwellers. My goal is to use the proceeds to give the key to a home to every family starting on the on the island of Vanuatu, where Survivor was filmed. I visited once and left my heart with the people. I have a trillion dollar dream to end homelessness through the local Christian churches, one family, & one island of the sea at a time. Perhaps my handyman would come with me to help you build. I've also been a cinematographer and PA on a movie if that type of help is needed. Would you like to have a small stained glass window? I know where I'm having mine made. And one last suggestion, what if you engraved a wall, inside or out with a donors name, bible verse, special (tiny) quote. That would be thrilling to me, more so than being in the movie or getting a movie credit. Just a thought. Nothing gaudy, just signatures to read up close, or a creative person could make them into a design when viewed at a distance. I am traveling and will be back online 9-2. I will be eager to see your bigger and better floor plans! Jesus is Lord and Jeremiah 29:11 is for you. Rev. Alana
Ive been hoping to get more update on both here and the blog. Im excited to see it finished!
Your site just appeared on my FB page. I don't have funds but my deceased husband's workshop is full of nails, screws, screwdrivers, hammers, etc & a few power tools. I would be willing to donate.
This is just incredible!
I love this idea and so glad that you have brought so much awareness to this issue; especially to the fact that it's much less money to provide shelter, case management and access to services, than to criminalize homelessness and continue the vicious cycle. I commend you and I'm very excited to read the book. In addition to a family friendly tiny house, have you any thoughts on making a universally designed tiny house? Many people wheelchair users and people with physical and sensory disabilities end up homeless and it's extremely difficult to find shelters and housing with this population. How neat it would be to have an inclusive tiny-home development :-).
Here is a picture of the land we hope to build a small Concrete building to live in Terlingua, Texas (due to my health) or if I get better a tiny home on wheels -- maybe the biggest one I can get on wheels. I have been close to homeless, no medical for a while until I received disability and I live on 11,000.00 a year. I am hoping for life without a wheelchair but I am concerned. I am poor and I do donate because this is such a good ministry. I have probably read every tiny home book available. Hoping yours is better. I have much advise to offer, just ask. M
This would have been more inspiring if you had showed the inside of "Tiny Houses" for the Homeless, Disabled & Families with low incomes. It would have given a glimpse of how "Tiny Houses" function with just claustrophobic space! :P
This would help a lot of people ~