Small Homes for Wildfire Survivors
Source: Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Last Thursday, the keys to five brand new little homes were given to survivors of the 2017 firestorms at a celebration in Windsor that praised the manufactured cottages as essential additions to the local housing scene — additions that really must multiply.
Barbara Reynolds, a retired Memorial Hospital nurse, who owned a plot of land on Old Redwood Highway that was unscathed by the Sonoma-Napa fires last October, was moved by the plight of displaced residents, many of whom who were elderly. Barbara obtained permission from the Town of Windsor in January to allow fire evacuees to bring seven recreational vehicles onto her land.
Members of Homes for Sonoma, a volunteer-led coalition of community nonprofits, businesses, and individuals, read of her plans for a small, temporary RV park. They asked if she’d consider having cottages on the property.
Reynolds embraced the idea. There was born a mission to rally the public and private partners to do something profound and original: gather the necessary permits and resources and create a critically needed mini-village of mini-homes.
Guests of the “welcome home” ceremony on an Old Redwood Highway plot of land owned by Barbara Reynolds spoke of imagining 15 or 20 or more of the cottages — at 480 square feet, less than a fifth the size of the typical U.S. home — appearing on bare land across Sonoma County.
“What I hope comes of this, more than anything,” said Reynolds, “is that we can serve as an example to the community.”
Residents will pay $950/month for the one-bedroom, one-bathroom, all-electric, movable cottages, which will be managed by the nonprofit Burbank Housing.
The agreement with the city allows the homes to remain on Reynolds’ property for up to five years. The founding tenants will have an option to purchase their cottages and move them.