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Ground Broken To Build Pittsburgh’s First TINY House in Garfield!

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Tiny Houses are a housing trend sweeping the nation for folks who want to live simply, cheaply and in an environmentally-friendly manner. There’s even a reality show that was created to document people building and living in tiny houses all across the country. This past Monday, Eve Picker, an innovative pioneering urban developer and her team and partners (including community partner, Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation), began excavating a lot in Garfield to build one of these tiny homes right here in Pittsburgh! 

tiny house ground breaking_CityLab

Photo Credit: KDKA


In 2013, we provided a $24,750 Catalytic Grant to CityLab to help test and get the Tiny House Project rolling (read all about how and why “thinking small” is right for Garfield and Pittsburgh here). When CityLab approached us to partner on this project, we were immediately intrigued by Eve’s vision and the possibility of tiny houses creating a new solution to address issues in our neighborhoods like affordability, vacancy and attracting new, young folks to transitional neighborhoods.

We’re super excited to see this pilot project moving forward, but we also recognize that we need to learn from and improve the final process and product if the tiny house movement is going to be used as a tool/strategy for filling vacant lots and offering affordable housing opportunities in Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods.

Eve will be the first to tell you that building a tiny house is much more expensive and complicated than she had originally expected. The cost of redeveloping vacant lots–basic stuff like excavation and water and sewer hookups–have increased costs significantly, resulting in a much less affordable housing option than we had all anticipated when this pilot project was launched. The price tag on Pittsburgh’s first tiny house will end up being around $100,000–far from being affordable for local low-income individuals and families and those looking for pathways out of poverty. However, when you compare the cost of the tiny house in Garfield to other housing options in the East End, it is affordable, in the traditional sense of the word. Purchasing a $100K tiny house looks like a monthly mortgage payment and taxes totaling somewhere around $520/month, with significantly lower electricity and gas bills than a regular sized home.

Read more about the tiny house movement locally and check out this video on Garfield’s very own Tiny House!

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