Homelessness, lack of affordable housing, natural disaster damage — these are all global problems that can be alleviated through creative housing solutions.

Three types of homes that problem-solvers such as Brad Pitt and Patrick Kennedy are employing to help are tiny houses, micro-units and shipping container homes.

Brad Pitt’s NOLA tiny home

In 2007, Brad Pitt founded the Make It Right Foundation, which builds Cradle to Cradle-inspired homes that meet the highest standards of green living, to build homes for those hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina.

Today, the foundation has built 109 well-designed, sustainable homes in New Orleans.

As part of the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in 2016, Pitt helped to build this tiny home in NOLA’s 9th Ward.

According to realtor.com, “The goal this time was not to help a flood-ravaged local, but to create a high-tech miniature house originally meant to sell for less than $100,000.”

It recently sold for $112,000.

At 496 square feet, this tiny two-story home is designed to minimize its carbon footprint, but it still has the luxuries of high ceilings and a wraparound deck.

Imagine how many families these tiny green homes could house after a disaster — and at an affordable, energy-efficient price.

Cities such as Dallas, Detroit and Portland have caught on to the idea of tiny homes as a housing solution. There are tiny home villages all over the country for low-income or homeless inhabitants.

These villages are embracing housing first, the idea that the solution to homelessness starts with giving people a place to live.

California’s MicroPADs

Many cities in California are planning or enacting legislation to combat rising housing prices and pave the way for affordable housing development.

Developer Patrick Kennedy and his team at Panoramic Interests have created a solution in small stackable prefab modular units called MicroPADs (PAD stands for “prefab affordable dwelling”).

Cities in California are exploring these 160-square-foot, soundproof apartments that exceed Seismic Codes as a means to dial back homelessness and affordability issues in major cities such as San Francisco and Sacramento.

In San Francisco alone, there are some 7,000 homeless living on the street.

Kennedy has said that his goal is to bring 5,000 units to the Bay Area — each with a per-unit price of $1,000 to be at least partially subsidized by local government.

These micro units come in pairs and are livable for one person; it won’t solve everything with the rising number of homeless families, but it’s still a start.

Shipping containers for the homeless

Shipping container homes are another solution to housing problems. What is a shipping container home? Well, it’s one built using shipping containers (pretty straightforward, right?)

The shipping containers themselves typically cost $1,800 to $5,000. They can be as small as 160 square feet and can be as large as your (or your architect’s) imagination allows.

They can be tricked out as a modern, energy efficient, smart home. Just look at these 24 breathtaking shipping container homes.

They are generally more affordable, smaller and can be “green,” thus leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

According to The Orange County RegisterAmerican Family Housing built the first permanent shipping container housing complex in California — and perhaps the only one in the nation — for homeless (with some preference given to veterans).

In Midway City, California, 54 containers were stacked to create a 16-unit building.

For more details on this project watch the video below.

Similarly, other shipping container housing projects for the homeless exist globally.

These three out-of-the-box housing solutions are helping homelessness and the lack of affordable housing as well as reducing the carbon footprint we leave for future generations. What other options can we come up with?

Email Dani Vanderboegh

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