Tiny House Movement: Can It Work In Winnipeg?

tiny homes winnipeg

There aren't many tiny houses around Winnipeg, but the concept is catching on in other areas. The idea is slowly making its way to Winnipeg. The first ones took a few years to design and make them inhabitable. Some wonder if this will become a plan for affordable housing or a comfortable place for retired people to choose instead of a large home. The initial development was small, but it got attention due to the sector of people they were created for.

Pros And Cons Of Tiny Houses

A tiny house offers a small but comfortable space to live in. There is typically a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room. Everything is compacted, with very little extra space. There is little room for storage or extras. Those living in tiny houses do just fine with the necessities and not much else. If you like to have company, a tiny house may not offer enough room to entertain them.

There are zoning laws that have to be followed with tiny houses. You can't put one anywhere you choose. While the cost of a tiny home is very low compared to a traditional home or a condo, it can be challenging to get financing for it. Most people need the means to pay for the place without making payments on it. That isn't always a practical option for someone looking at the prospect of a tiny house.

Helping The Homeless

Astum Api Niikinaahk

The tiny homes project was introduced in downtown Winnipeg in 2022. This project, called Astum Api Niiknaahk, offers 22 units. Residents moved into the tiny homes in January of 2023; each was formerly homeless. Each unit is 170 square feet, except for the 4 units for those in wheelchairs. Those are 400 square feet.

This project aims to offer support and housing for those who would otherwise be on the streets. The program is working on funding more tiny houses to help those in need. They face many obstacles to get the developments moving forward. There were delays with this first project, mainly due to COVID-19.

A Solution To Affordable Housing?

Some experts believe tiny houses may start developing in many areas of Winnipeg due to the housing shortage. They would offer a solution for those struggling to find a place to live that is safe and affordable. They could be a good choice for immigrants recently relocating to Winnipeg. The tiny home could be a temporary shelter until they get established and find a permanent place. While there are only a few tiny homes in Winnipeg, more will likely appear in the coming years.

However, many immigrants coming to the area for work and a better life have a family. There isn't enough room in a tiny house for several people. They are designed for one or two individuals. There would remain an affordable housing shortage for families.

Federal And Municipal Regulations

There isn't a massive demand in Winnipeg for tiny houses, but it may be because many people don't know enough about them. For others, the small square footage doesn't appeal to them. They don't need a large condo or house, but they want more than a few hundred square feet to call home. There are regulations in Canada for tiny homes. They must be at least 188 square feet (ironically, the tiny home project designs are smaller than that).

Any bylaws of a given area must be followed with the development of a tiny house there. The tiny home must have electricity, heat, and water in many areas. Otherwise, it can't legally be lived in all year. There may be building codes for that specific location, too. As long as all of this is met, the unit can be lived in all year. The tiny house must be on a permanent foundation in Winnipeg. If it is mobile or on wheels, it is classified as a recreational vehicle or a mobile home rather than a house.

Tiny Homes Planned For Winnipeg

There just happens to be a new tiny home project sweeping across Canada. Homes for Heroes, a not for profit company is building tiny home villages for Canadian military veterans. There's a project scheduled to start here next summer.

Will it work?