Organizations across the United States are working to answer the same question: How do we build more affordable housing? Some are taking unconventional approaches to the housing shortage. The demand has put pressure on cities and developers to build more affordable housing quickly. Close to home, modular homes are gaining a foothold.
La société de logement tapped into the idea of using modular homes in Idaho to help fill those needs. In October, the nonprofit finished its first modular home development, which consists of three duplexes in Kuna.
Modular home construction differs from typical home construction because homes are built in an off-site factory. Once they’re moved to a permanent site, they’re fixed on a foundation and aren’t movable, making them different from a mobile home. They’re inspected and approved by state or local building officials before being brought to the permanent site and assembled in phases.
In the Housing Company’s Linder Project, the garages and roofs of the duplexes were built on-site. The frames, siding, walls, and interiors of the homes were built at NASHUA Builder’s factory in Boise.
Blake Jumper, the development manager for The Housing Company, said there are advantages to using modular homes for affordable housing, including shorter construction time and not being weather dependent. One challenge, Jumper said, is coordinating construction. The on-site contractors, architect, and the modular builder have to maintain close communication to ensure timelines are met and homes are correctly assembled.
The homes each have three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Rents, which range from $580 to $1,000, are based on HUD’s annual median income guidelines.
Modular homes an affordable housing option in rural Idaho
This is the first modular project The Housing Company has ventured into, but Jumper said modular housing may prove to be an efficient building alternative when serving communities that are outside of Idaho’s urban corridors.
“Our future goal may be to use modular construction for rural areas where labor and materials are scarce. This project will help us gain experience with the modular building process,” said Jumper.
The Housing Company hopes to have four additional affordable units completed by fall 2019.