COTTAGE GROVE – The city council voted Monday to allocate funding to SquareOne Villages’ Cottage Grove location, Cottage Village.
SquareOne Villages, Lane County nonprofit dedicated to creating self-managed communities of cost-effective tiny houses for people in need of housing.
In 2020, the city council adopted the “Housing Development Cost Assistance Program,” to help nonprofits or government agencies build low income-housing. Since then, the program has assisted not only SquareOne, but Legion Village as well.
The council voted to allocate 75% of the funding request, totaling at $5,545.05. SquareOne Villages will use that funding to revitalize their community room, which City Manager Richard Meyers described as, “an extension of their living space.”
“This is the last piece that they were working on,” Meyers said. “It was used as a shop to reconstruct some of the tiny homes and now they want to make that into a community room. It will be used for meetings and events and activities or meeting with friends and family.”
Cottage Village holds 13 permanent tiny homes—each complete with sleeping and living areas, a kitchenette, and full bathroom. The soon-to-be revitalized community space currently holds one of the 13 rental units.
“These tiny homes are so small and I thought that we sort of breezed over this little bit over this couple of years ago,” said City Councilor Kenneth Micheal Roberts. “This area was going to be an extension of their homes. And I respected the residential piece, but this is a different situation.”
The vision for Cottage Village is to provide accessible and sustainable housing options for people with low-incomes through tiny houses that are safe, livable, and significantly more affordable within a stable community setting. Costs are kept low through an emphasis on small-scale development, self-management, and cooperative living.
Cottage Village serves low-income residents. In the Grove, United Way of Lane County reports that 50% of Cottage Grove residents fall into the categories of poverty or “asset limited, income constrained, employed. ”
In the United States, the Urban Institute reports that for every 100 households classified as extremely low-income, only 29 units are available and affordable. The rental vacancy rate in Cottage Grove (population of 9,700) is 1%.
“I do think this fits with the spirit of the policy,” City Councilor Jon Stinnett said. “It seems like the community is working and funding this shows support for what they do.”