East Palo Alto is home to a thriving community of working class families. It’s home to deep-rooted churches, schools with big dreams, a variety of restaurants, and a close network of residents who contribute to a healthy community.
The community, however, has been deeply impacted by the quickly changing real estate market in the Bay Area. As high paying jobs have swelled across Silicon Valley, housing options for working class families have dwindled. With a lack of options in the area, the average family in the area spends 120% of their income on housing, meaning that many people are going into debt. Feeling the desperation, some people are converting structures like garages into living areas for multiple families, creating unsafe environments that don’t meet legal housing requirements.
The Solution: Thinking Bigger by Thinking Smaller
What if families would access quality housing at a price that they could afford? What if we could create dozens of these opportunities with smart design? What if these new buildings were both legal and safe?
In the past decade, some have associated the tiny house movement in popular culture with yuppies who want beautiful design and high quality buildings, but with less stuff.
Partnering with designer Derek Ouyang, we are taking tiny houses to the next level. We are building beautiful, affordable houses for low-income families interested in a simple approach to living. They are safe, well-crafted, designed to meet the needs of a family — and promote “blocks” of residential living that boost the sense of community.
As another avenue for change, we’re also partnering with Honomobo — a company based in Canada and Blokable — a company based in Washington — to design and build pre-fabricated houses. These houses will carefully use every inch of space to make safe, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing living conditions for families.
In addition to City Systems, the City of Menlo Park, and the City of East Palo Alto, Blocks is made possible by the following: