The New Jersey Senate is considering legislation that would create grants to build microhouses for low-income occupants.
The proposed three-year “Tiny Home Pilot Program” would budget $5 million for housing developments whose single-family or apartment homes measure no more than 300 square feet of floor space.
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, said the one-room dwellings, which typically cost a few thousand dollars—not including land—could provide housing for some homeless citizens and could help ease New Jersey’s housing shortage.
A state government endorsing the building of microhouses could further a movement stymied by local zoning regulations and building codes that do not classify the small structures as legal residences—so their builders and owners can’t make them permanent. To get around the regulations, many of the tiny homes—some as small as 100 square feet—have wheels, which classifies them as trailers instead of houses.
Still, a tiny house movement—with blogs, associations, and even a TV show—is growing as housing prices rise, inventory dips, and mortgage credit remains tight.