The public will have its first chance on Saturday, Nov. 21, to tour a model tiny home the Monroe County government has set up as part of a pilot program to test the interest in such types of homes.
The public is welcome to view Monroe County’s first model code compliant tiny home at one of three planned open houses, according to county spokeswoman Kristen Livengood.
The house, which is located at 41 Judy Place in Key Largo, will be open from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, Saturday, Dec. 5, and Saturday, Dec. 12.
At the open house, COVID-19 safety measures will be in place. Visitors will be required to wear facial coverings, socially distance from others, and only one family group will be allowed in the house at a time. Also, note there is limited parking in the neighborhood.
The Key Largo tiny home is one in a pilot project the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners approved in December 2018. The commissioners wanted to be creative in finding products that are wind- and flood-resistant for homeowners to consider as replacements following the devastation throughout the Keys from Hurricane Irma in September 2017.
The Cornerstone Tiny Homes prototype in Key Largo is a hurricane-rated structure that can be used as an alternative replacement of a mobile home after a disaster.
The model home is one bedroom and one bathroom with a porch, a little less than 400 square feet, and starts at $85,000, for the home without the land.
Eventually the model will be rented out to a county employee, but no employee has been selected to live in the Key Largo home, as the county plans to use it to show citizens what a code complaint tiny home is like.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Monroe County embarked on several strategies to find a way to replace the roughly 4,000 homes destroyed or substantially damaged.
However, it has been no easy task finding a cost-effective way to build safe affordable and workforce housing in one of the most expensive counties in the state that has seen more hurricane strikes than nearly any other county in Florida.
The county initially embarked on a pilot program to build four different prototypes of tiny homes on three separate islands, but some of the locations and plans did not work out and the county is now looking at two locations, Key Largo and Big Pine Key, Deputy County Administrator Christine Hurley said.
The county currently has a request for proposals to build a tiny home and place it at 252 Sands Road in Big Pine Key, Hurley said.
Hurley is hoping developers and property owners will see value in the tiny home idea and want to pursue it for future projects in the Florida Keys, where there is an affordable housing crisis and not a lot of land, Hurley said.
For information on Cornerstone Tiny Homes, visit http://www.cornerstonetinyhomes.com.