Tiny homes? Home sharing? Boise tests new affordable housing concepts
Last week, a corner of Terry Day Park along Federal Way buzzed with activity.
It wasn’t for a children’s birthday party, a soccer game or some other event. The dozens of attendees gathered around to tour a tiny home on wheels to talk about the potential future of housing in Boise.
Visitors popped in and out of the blue home, only a few hundred square feet, discussing its amenities, filled out surveys on housing options and talked about the housing crisis.
[Study: Boise rents went up faster than anywhere in the US in the past year]
The event was part of the City of Boise’s work to explore three new programs to find more housing options for low-income Boiseans as prices continue to rise. This push for new solutions stems from the city’s participation in the Bloomberg-Harvard City Leadership Initiative Innovation program, which convened a panel of city employees across departments to work with experts and come up with creative policies to address the housing crisis.
Thinking outside the box
Over the next few months, city staff will study three of the ideas pitched by the panel and if they are promising, work to launch them in Boise. The concepts under study include approving tiny homes on wheels in the city, incentives for homeowners to build accessory dwelling units to rent at affordable rates and a home-sharing platform to connect renters in need with Boiseans with extra rooms in their home.
Kyle Patterson, Boise’s data analyst, said these ideas came from city staff, as well as interviews with dozens of community members from various incomes and backgrounds. After the idea-gathering phase, the city pulled these three concepts together and is now set to test them on a small scale with low-cost prototypes.
“It’s touching everybody’s lives and people really want to be part of the solution,” he said. “We were really looking for things that are a win-win for renters and homeowners as well. We’re asking you to help your community and with all of these you can get rental income, you can add equity to your home and build community to where you live.”
More ways to live tiny
The tiny home had a ton of fans.
By and large, attendees were impressed with the number of amenities that could fit in such a small package. But, what was most attractive was the idea of a home that could easily go in someone’s backyard but still be easily moved, unlike a mobile home that costs $15,000 to relocate.
One attendee, Dustin Daher, came to check it out and put his two cents in, hoping it would help the city spur approval of the tiny homes. He is hoping to purchase a property himself and develop it with tiny homes on the edge of Boise to provide more housing options that won’t, but he doesn’t want to move ahead if officials aren’t behind the concept.
“It’s nicer than RVs and it’s a lot more appealing to the neighborhood, rather than have more RV parks,” Daher said. “This kind of helps on both ends because we’re not going to create future problems with future trailer parks, it will preserve the rural nature of the properties and relieve some of the pressure on the market.”
[Boise rent prices continue to increase faster than anywhere else in the US]
Patterson said these tiny homes sell for between $50,000 and $75,000, which is attainable for a renter to purchase. But, the problem is that the renter would need a place to park the home. The idea the city is studying would allow these homes within city limits, so homeowners could rent space on their property to the home owner or own one themselves and rent it out on a more traditional basis.
They would have utility hookups and be subject to city design standards, but it would allow the lower-income person to own their own home and build equity without the high price point.
Deborah Mullner, who attended Tuesday’s open house, said she liked the concept and would be interested in hosting one at her home for someone to live in. Still, she wanted to see an even lower-cost model available without as many bells and whistles.
“We need something where people can buy a shell and work on it themselves to save money,” she said, studying the crisp exterior of the home. “It can’t all be super expensive. It needs to be affordable for young families.”
An easier path to an ADU
The city is also considering making it easier to build accessory dwelling units.
Right now, ADUs, or mother-in-law cottages, are easier to build in Boise than before after the city loosened regulations on them in 2019. Since then, the city saw an uptick in applications to install them, as BoiseDev reported, but they are still expensive to build and working with the city’s permitting process can be intimidating.
Patterson said the city is considering a number of different incentives to ease the process for homeowners who are interested in an ADU renting to Boiseans making less than 80% of the area median income. This could include a staff person to walk someone through the permitting process, low-cost financing options or support with finding tenants for first-time landlords.
Other cities have had success with free designs for ADUs paid for by the city that are available to homeowners, instead of requiring them to get their own custom drawings from an architect.
[ADUs gaining popularity in Boise since regulations relaxed last year]
To test these ideas, Patterson said the city has created a Choose Your Own Adventure-style guide to the ADU process and potential incentives gage their reactions to the program, their needs and what they are looking for from the city.
“This round we’ve created…early draft versions of what a website would look like for an ADU program, what rent you might rent it out for and we sit with somebody and they walk through it,” He said. “We’ll ask them to speak aloud about what they’re thinking. It’s really about getting deep feedback and having one on one conversations about what folks are thinking.”
The third option is a city-backed home-sharing website to help renters in need find a homeowner they can rent from in the city.
Under this concept, the city would set up a website where potential renters can browse listings from Boiseans with extra rooms in their house, like seniors, empty nesters or young single homeowners. This can help facilitate trades like lower rent in exchange for yard work or other help around the house, or other community-based living for people with shared interests.
The city is considering a feature where potential renters can pay once for a background check for multiple applications to make it more friendly for renters. Boise’s Innovation and Performance Coordinator Eli Griffin said this site also provides a greater degree of safety for low-income renters, who may be nervous about searching for a landlord on anonymous platforms.
“Craigslist isn’t the most trustworthy app,” Griffin said. “You don’t know who you’re talking to and a lot of people who are dealing with housing instability they’re often from marginalized communities and they need a safety net, a source they can trust. Having a platform that does these background checks and says these people are who they say they are is really important because it is this safety net.”
Pueblo Street Tiny Home - Boise, ID
The owners are clearly very thoughtful and thorough people. The entire space was perfectly designed. The home was welcoming and relaxing, and the neighborhood was also very charming with nearby restaurants and shopping within walking distance. Having never been to Boise, I was pleasantly surprised.
It’s the sweetest space we stay in while in Boise. It has everything we need and lots of happy energy.
We loved our time in this home! It was super quaint and quiet. It's location was great. It was super hot - record temps - while we were there. There isn't an air conditioner so we had to make do with the two fans that were there with bowls of ice in front of the fan to cool the place. There were ants inside. The liked the toilet and we had to brush ants off when we returned to the house each time. There were also ants in the kitchen, but there was ant spray. When we arrived, more than 30 minutes after the check in time, the lock box wasn't there like the instructions said it would be. We were pretty confused. The lock box was missing because it was inside. The house was still being cleaned, as we discovered when we slowly opened the door and scared the cleaning person. As a result, we think he house could have been cleaner - the cleaner might have felt rushed since we were waiting outside in the heat for her to finish. But we would stay here again for sure!
Thank you for your review, Carlyle! We are happy to hear you enjoyed your stay. We are disappointed to hear the home was not up to the high standard of cleanliness that we hold ourselves to. We have provided your valuable feedback to our local manager to address. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope we can host you again!
Very peaceful, cozy, and an efficient use of space.
As always, the home was clean and welcoming. There is nothing more we need for a fun weekend. I have a strange attachment to the blue colander. And all the light blue accents. The owners have thought of everything. We can't wait to be back.
Very pleasant and cozy home with privacy and quiet area. Could use a few more amenities, such as coffee and creamer.
This is our sweet spot in Boise. We have stayed here four times, and it has been perfect every time. Even though the days reached almost 100 degrees, with a fan and the top window, we could keep it cool enough. Please contact me first to see if I want it, otherwise, reserve it. Haha!
The owners are lovely.
This tiny home had everything we needed. We appreciated the extra storage cabinet outside the unit. Everything felt fresh and clean! The mattress was very comfortable. We loved the skylight window which opens over the loft to allow fresh air while sleeping. We enjoyed the doors opening up to the patio for extra space. And most of all we loved the location! We could run or bike just a half mile to access the trails and less than a mile to walk downtown. Highly recommend!
Location, location, location! It was perfect for a family with two little people who love to explore. It had all the amenities we needed, we would definitely stay again.
Check-in was simple, it was the cleanest rental I’ve ever stayed in and it’s walking distance to downtown. What more could you ask for!
Well equipped, centrally located in the heart of Hyde Park in Boise. The home was cozy and clean, and we look forward to making this a regular stay-cation spot.
Perfect location to explore the north end and super clean. Absolutely loved it!
Clean, modern, well stocked, all around very nice. Only issue was regulating the heat build-up in the loft, but there were fans handy to help circulate it to the downstairs.
Cute an convenient. Stayed here for BSU parents weekend and it was perfect. I’ll be back!
Loved the space. Feels brand new. Great location close to downtown. Comfy bed, bathroom and shower were great. Good size for 2 people overall! Would return.
Such a great find hidden away in Boise. Will definitely be staying again.
You can tell the homeowner put a lot of thought into the design and comfort of this home. Not only was it in an ideal location, but it was also spotless, had comfortable beds and was well stocked with kitchen essentials. The firepit was an amazing bonus too! I would definitely recommend this home and I hope to stay here again soon!
This home was nicely furnished and used the small space well. Even though the home shares a common space with the main house, we always felt comfortable using the alley entrance and felt like we had the space to ourselves. Thanks!
This tiny home is adorable and has great modern, clean, minimalist features. While being a tiny home, it has plenty of space to sit down for a meal, all of the kitchen amenities to make a meal, a well sized shower, and a comfortable bed. Note: If you aren't packing light, this is not the place for you. There are 3 small drawers and no closet so don't expect to stow large suitcases. Additionally, the owner lives in the home in front of the tiny house. They are quiet, kind, and stay out of your way!
My wife and I needed a weekend stay and this was the perfect fit. Nice space for cooking and tall ceilings so you forget that the space is small. We will rent here again.
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Backyard Tiny House w/ Private Fence, Boise
When this couple moved to Boise, Idaho, they wanted space in their yard for an accessory dwelling unit they could use as a guest house and rental unit. They contracted with Tiny Idahomes who built them this lovely THOW they now rent out on Airbnb.
The THOW has it’s own private fenced-in yard and patio area, which makes it a private stay. Inside you’ll find a queen-sized loft bedroom, as well as a sofa bed downstairs if you aren’t up for stair-climbing. There’s a full kitchen to make it easy to prepare meals, and a bathroom with a spacious shower and Separett composting toilet.
Tiny Home Tours did a great video tour of the space which you can watch below! Enjoy!
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- Family guest room/Airbnb rental
- Built by Tiny Idahomes
- One queen-bed loft
- Sofa bed
- Full kitchen
- Oven, stove, large fridge
- Bathroom with composting toilet
- Large shower
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Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.
Move Into This Beautiful Boise Tiny House For Just $35,000
Normally when you see a tiny house for sale for under $40,000, it is still in need of a little (or a lot) of work. But sometimes there are exceptions—and they can be quite amazing. This tiny house which is presently in Boise, ID, is available for only $35,000, and it is “ready to move in.”
With a backdrop of Idaho mountains, right now it is serving as a rental available through AirBnB. It looks so cozy, doesn’t it? Let’s step inside that brightly-lit interior and check out what all 208 square feet have to offer.
Talk about cozy—that window seat looks ridiculously comfortable, doesn’t it? The two little lanterns add a nice homey touch. You definitely will want to park this home somewhere beautiful. The view through those windows is perfect right now, and wherever it sits, you’d want to be able to look out at equally picturesque scenery.
Here is a photo which gives you a really good angle on the loft as well as the lower floor. The kitchen features a lot of counter space as well as what looks like an extra high faucet over the sink, perfect for washing larger dishes. Above, there is a lot of floor space in the loft.
You can see the faucet better here. It looks like it would be really easy to wash dishes here!
The little dining booth adds a charming touch to the house, complete with what looks to be a folding table under the window. You’ve gotta love the seats—check out the huge storage spaces beneath them! What a simple, clever design.
In the bathroom, there is a composting toilet and a narrow sink (I wonder if it was custom built for the tight space?).
The shower is seriously impressive! It’s roomy and it has lots of shelves and racks for soaps and shampoos.
This is an interesting take on the storage staircase idea. We have a couple of large metal cabinets (I believe) with some smaller wooden boxes on top of them. I have no idea if the cabinets were built for this purpose or just happen to fit perfectly in this space, but I really like the interplay of elements here. The contrasting colors and materials give the steps some unexpected flair.
If you want to move into this gorgeous house, you can make it yours now for only $35,000. You know for sure that it has everything you need to live comfortably since it is being rented out in the meantime. In fact, you could feasibly rent it yourself to check it out before committing. If you want to learn more, visit the listing on Tiny House Marketplace.
Homes for tiny rent boise
Beautiful 474 Sq. Ft. Tiny Home with Garage in Boise, Idaho
This is a beautiful 474 sq. ft. tiny home with garage in Boise, Idaho.
From the outside you’ll notice the home sits on top of a spacious two-car garage where you can keep your vehicle along with any other belongings. Adjacent to the garage is your front door entrance which leads you up into this beautiful newly-built little home.
Inside you’ll find a lovely kitchen, living area, bedroom, built-in desk, bathroom, and closet space. Wouldn’t it be great to see more homes like this being approved of and built? Please enjoy, learn more, and re-share below. Thank you!
Beautiful 474 Sq. Ft. Tiny Home with Garage in Boise, Idaho
Unique custom home by Hornet Construction. If you need to downsize or just want to live in a cool new house w/an irreplaceable backyard, this is it! Custom cabinets, granite counter tops, tiled back splashes, big 2-car garage, extra RV or boat parking & SS appliances. This home is turn key, affordable & close to downtown, Boise State, airport & freeway access. (source)
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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
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