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Tiny homes study in Sudbury could have big impact on housing shortage

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Collège Boréal in Sudbury has received about $360,000 from the federal to finance a study on tiny homes and determine whether they’re an option here in northern Ontario.

The money will go into research, as well as planning and designing a tiny home, said Sabine Bouchard, from the college.

“Planning is really our main objective for year one,” Bouchard said.

“We’re going to be working and including some of our architecture students in the process.”

It’s in the second year when they’re hoping to actually build a tiny home on the Sudbury campus.

“That’s going to include students from our carpentry, welding, plumbing, electricity programs,” she said.

“Then year three is to really evaluate that design.”

Boréal will be working alongside the city as well as an organization called the Tiny Town Association, which was found in Kingston in 2015.

Founder Ed Peterson said the organization is working toward building its first tiny home community, with the intention of building multiple communities across Canada an affordable housing option.

“There are more and more businesses building tiny homes, but our partnership with the college is that we’ll be able to look at how tiny homes (can) be constructed to be affordable and meet the housing needs in northern communities,” Peterson said.

“We’ll be able to look at different building styles and determine … do we need that much insulation? Do we need those thicknesses of walls to be able to build something that’s affordable and easy to maintain.”

He said there are benefits to tiny homes.

“The cost of the unit is still less than any other form of housing, that’s the first benefit,” Peterson said.

“The second one is you can build and move into a tiny house quicker than let’s say an apartment building. An apartment building you have to build the whole thing, versus a tiny home. You can build them one by one.”

He hopes the students helping out with the build in Sudbury will become interested in building tiny homes once they graduate.

“We are working to develop people coming out of college and looking at building tiny homes as a potential job or business,” Peterson said.

“So, with all those things in place, there’s potential for a lot of builders to come on board and build tiny homes.”

Boréal said once the tiny home is built, it’s planning to donate it to a not for profit organization. 

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