News & Media

Thinking Bigger: Developers, Advocates Say Tiny House Villages are an Untapped Affordable Housing Option in Maryland

By Ethan McLeod – Associate Editor, Baltimore Business Journal

Surrounded by vacant buildings, sidewalks with two-foot-tall weeds and assorted debris, the grassy lots in the 1300 block of Holbrook Street in East Baltimore don’t inspire much hope at first glance.

But Christian and Pamela Wilson see more than meets the naked eye. Their vision for years has been to fill this collection of 27 barren properties with homes built for and owned by chronically homeless families. Their nonprofit, Heart’s Place Services, is working with waterfront developer Mark Sapperstein to develop the land, acquired this summer from the city, into Hope Village, which will hold 13 insulated, furnished and utility-equipped houses fashioned out of shipping containers. Each will have its own full kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and adaptable living and dining spaces (plus porches for some).

Sapperstein said he’s “going to fund whatever’s necessary” for building costs, and their plan is to sell each 320-square-foot abode for $25,000 — financed by mortgages from Neighborhood Assistance Corp. and underwritten by Bank of America — to buyers with at least one household leader making minimum wage. After completing required coursework on budgeting and financing, families would be able to own a newly furnished home with a monthly payment of around $200, Wilson said.

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