Technical Support for Tiny Home-related Projects

The Tiny Dream in San Diego

Tiny homes provide a new way of looking at housing in the urban landscape. However, many of those in the tiny home advocacy community still find it challenging to put these concepts into practice, given the complex web of local building and community planning processes. Because of this complexity, Tiny Home Central continues to work to answer the question of how tiny houses can legally fit into the fabric of urban communities and meet the needs of the growing population in the 21st century.  

At Tiny Home Central, we provide tangible solutions that bring tiny home development projects to reality. 

Tiny Home Central’s Mission

The mission at Tiny Home Central is to create systemic change in San Diego's housing ecosystem to allow tiny homes to be a naturally affordable housing option. Tiny Home Central achieves its mission through education, advocacy, and technical support that organizations and agencies need. Tiny Home Central does this with every project it takes on while also connecting the solutions it finds in other communities to San Diego’s legal framework. 

In addition, Tiny Home Central is a resource that provides technical assistance to organizations that want to develop tiny home communities as well as government officials who are interested in adding tiny homes into their product inventory as a social and affordable housing solution for underserved groups. By equipping organizations and local officials with the resources they need to affect policy and build tiny houses in San Diego, Tiny Home Central makes tiny dreams a reality. 

How Tiny Home Central Achieves Their Mission

Where does someone with a tiny dream put their new tiny home in San Diego?

To answer this question, Tiny Home Central worked with other community activists to launch the first local chapter of the American Tiny House Association (ATHA) in August of 2018. On a nation-wide level, ATHA brainstorms and implements strategies to legalize tiny homes. With San Diego as its first local chapter, the organization's resources are now added to the strategies that activists in the community use to legalize tiny houses in all 19 municipalities in San Diego. 

The San Diego chapter provides tools and workshops to tiny house advocates who are creating tiny-friendly change in their local communities. The local chapter also offers resources that explain the government’s approval process, how to identify and approach local government leaders, and communication practices that resonate with government officials. 

Empowered by effective tools and strategies, tiny home activists use the education and advocacy strategies in collaboration with Tiny Home Central and ATHA to create systemic change. Together, the individuals and organizations help impact policy and quicken the legalization of tiny houses in San Diego so the local community can take advantage of the economic, health, and environmental opportunities that tiny homes provide that traditional housing in San Diego can't offer. 

On top of inciting policy change with activists and ATHA, Tiny Home Central works with organizations that understand the unique benefits of tiny homes and that want to develop tiny houses and villages as a housing solution and a model for wellness. Tiny Home Central offers speaking engagements, presentations, and attends events to educate those in San Diego about the advantages of tiny homes to jumpstart the development and implementation of tiny-communities. With the San Diego community’s support, Tiny Home Central provides a catalyst to spark systemic change so that San Diego officials and citizens experience and capitalize on the benefits of tiny houses. 

Who Does Tiny Home Central Serve?

Tiny Home Central serves three main groups: housing advocacy groups, nonprofit developers and organizations, and planning/building officials. These three audiences are the best partners in Tiny Home Central’s efforts to legalize tiny houses in San Diego. 

Serving these groups is a multi-pronged strategy that Tiny Home Central uses to apply the opportunities that tiny homes offer. 

What does the San Diego community think about tiny houses?

Most people are curious and fascinated by the concept of tiny houses in San Diego. People are genuinely interested in the lifestyle, but it can be hard to know where to start. 

Unlike buying a house or renting an apartment—where there is a societal knowledge of the process—there is no straightforward “how-to” when it comes to tiny houses and how to make the lifestyle a reality. Tiny homes offer a completely different way of living, and people have tons of questions.

Some San Diegans who are interested in tiny houses have joined the San Diego Tiny House Enthusiasts Meetup group, an organization that Tiny Home Central’s founder is directly involved in as one of the organizers. Currently, there are more than 1,400 members. However, that number does not accurately reflect the number of tiny home fans in San Diego. For example, during Tiny Home Central’s 2017 San Diego Alternative Housing Solutions event, approximately 1,000 people attended the two-day gathering, most of whom were not part of the Meetup group.

About the founder

Ellen Stone, the creator of Tiny Home Central, has 15 years of experience advocating for at-risk and vulnerable populations in the mental health and nonprofit sector. For the last five years, Ellen has applied her experience to tiny houses in San Diego by aiding with policy change, engaging communities, providing education, and planning and implementing tiny home events and projects.

Ellen was the Chair of the Tiny Home Sub-Committee under the Health and Human Services Housing Council for the County of San Diego. As part of a year-long effort to educate the community on tiny houses in San Diego, members of the subcommittee were tasked with showing why tiny homes are a possible solution for individuals with mental health challenges. 

Throughout the years, Ellen's efforts have generated numerous awards, including: 

1. NAMI California (National Alliance on Mentally Illness): 2014 Outstanding Youth Advocate Award

  • For excellence in serving as an advocate, providing support, and advocacy for youth experiencing serious mental illness.

2. California Bipolar Foundation: 2009 Imagine Award

  • For providing a safe and supportive environment for young adults through Impact Young Adults.

3. NAMI San Diego: 2008 Young Adult Inspiration Award

  • For leading and inspiring young people to grow through Impact Young Adults.