Op-Ed: A Tiny Home Update: “The New American Dream” in Progress

A former homeless person's follow-up to a tiny home plan for San Diego's homeless

Photo of Tiny Home by Lenara Verle

Politics are the Ultimate Porn

The Art of Political Science is about a distilled and formulaic perversion of The People’s ideals: Politicians and bureaucrats do not provide what we want; they teach us how to desire it. Public officials’ speeches and a charismatic delivery do not guide my direction in assembling a business and housing plan for San Diego because they do not offer clarity in describing the steps to achieve its presentation and success.

A very important North County housing summit is about to be hosted in Escondido, California on July 19th, 2018 by the San Diego North Economic Development Council in conjunction with the Housing You Matters Coalition. When I reached the Coalition’s Facebook page I was told all the speakers were booked and thus my revised business and housing plan could not fit in for this event. 

That is understandable, but not ideal for me, after I have updated and refined my first plan, published here in 2016. Find out more on the event’s page here. I wasn’t offered the possibility to present the plan at any other time.

Who am I, figuratively and in Reality?
Orlando Barahona. My name does not ring a bell in almost all aspects of Real Estate Development and much less in Politics. By the way, Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation has a paper copy of my plan. They should look it up.

However insignificant I am as a former homeless figure, I have met and befriended fellow activists and thinkers in the movement to propose a plausible solution to the urgent need for low-income and homeless Housing First needs. This makes me feel more connected to my peers and no longer a lone wolf in my activism with its entrepreneurial qualities.

Capitalism has one imperative: Capital must circulate and thus no one will invest in a black hole, which is how developers see the various projects presented to alleviate mounting pressure to offer a bigger stock of homes. Is it mandatory to build these homes? Yes, but my angle is all about a business plan attached to a rehabilitation program.

Non-profit organizations (if I am correct) cannot also own a for-profit business. For-profit businesses require an acumen that is alien to social workers, but open to entrepreneurs. Screw grants, I want to meet some Russian oligarchs to fund my plan ha ha ha ha!

To Business We Come

  1. The Concept To lease or purchase a commercial property in San Diego in order to build a model colony of tiny homes, which will serve as the first housing, business, and rehabilitation program of its kind
  2. The Demographics Served Chronically homeless men and women with a mental challenge diagnosis who enter the system of emergency rooms, crisis houses and short-term residential programs on a regular basis using Prop 63 and Prop 64 funding; AB109 clients or TAY (transitional-age youth) as alternative demographics.
  3. The Program THE EMANCIPATION PROJECT: Business Education, Wellness and Vocational Training leading to Self-Sufficiency and Ownership of Tiny Homes for the Social Reintegration of its Participants.

    Program duration: 2 years.

    Orientation Period
    : Mental Health Evaluation and Education via individual and group therapy sessions.Connection to Social Services

    Phase Two: Daily routine involving physical wellness

    Addressing substance use issues

    Phase Three: Business and Vocational Training
  • How to Budget Your Income
  • Basic Woodworking
  • Basic Sustainable Farming
  • Basic Building Material-Making (i.e. from recycled plastics)

    Phase Four: Self-Sufficiency Through Products and Services 
    The Emancipation Project’s primary aim is to educate a labor force that can build new tiny homes for people looking to purchase one. The completion of the program offers the ownership of a tiny home to its participants, which refreshes the American Dream of owning a house.


Milords and Miladies, I give you the free-standing Solar-Powered Electric Charging Station, which can satisfy your need for recharging cellular phones, tablets, and laptops. An estimated 4k units laced strategically in San Diego County can bring in break-even revenue within a year and can be an excellent source of self-funding for the colony and its program without having to propose more taxes.

A clever campaign can effectively introduce the stations to the public at the cost of a few dollars or quarter-dollars per use as a solution to the constant woes of budget cuts for this project. Brilliant!

The Evolution of Zoning and Insurance for Tiny Homes

One of my closest new friends and an active member of the Tiny Home Movement who built his own tiny home on wheels met with a very recent and current issue related to zoning and insurance for tiny homes when he and his girlfriend received a potential eviction notice from the lot where the tiny home is parked. Luckily, there is a solution, which is in progress and that eases my mind about the well-being of my friend and his girlfriend.

There is much work to be done in order to continue with this very personal passion. To make a big stride, I am now partnering with members of the movement whose skills in various fields related to Urban Planning and Real Estate Law give me hope. I will continue to update you when possible. Stay strong and keep in touch!

Tiny house image:  Lenara Verle/Flickr/CC Lic.
Las Casitas logo by V-69 Digital Marketing
Originally published at San Diego UrbDezine