Living in a box

There’s something to be said for simple living by choice. It’s something else to be living close to the bone because the cost of living is too high.

This story in the New York Times about new “tiny homes” for homeless and rent-poor Californians reminds me of stories from Hong Kong and other crowded cities. The rent for a home built from a shipping container is $600 a month; the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the San Francisco area is over $3000 according my perusal of advertisements.

But the slideshow is a little sad. It contrasts the portable homes made for folks living on the street with the “hipster” containers. $12,000 just to renovate it? So even among the tiny households there’s disparity.

The other thing that strikes me is that in many areas, trailer and mobile home parks aren’t welcome. Yet these can be affordable and secure homes.  There’s such a park near my workplace. There are the usual mix of working families, widows and widowers living on pensions, and childless couples in-between homes. I can’t imagine any of the residents preferring a shipping container, nor the amount of work needed to make it livable for a small family.