FWH will offer many lifestyles, and changeups
There are many lifestyle choices available under the Free Will Haven intentional community solution to stalking issues, including short- and lone-term options. This post, which is rather tentative and general, depicts the envisioned realities of such choices, and is certainly subject to changes dictated by the actual nature of the eventual Free Will Haven site, and other variables which cannot be predicted. Each choice has value or benefits, as well as detractors, depending on the individual’s needs or views as to what constitutes one or the other. Many of the detractors will not be seen to exist in the lifestyle, itself, as much as the possible logistical difficulties in execution… things dictated by personal situations and limitations, such as the costs involved, or requiring circumstances not conveniently in place. But planning ahead, is how best to solve such roadblocks, that one may achieve the best possible choice, when the time comes.
It may also prove true that no one solution is ‘perfect’ to one’s initial needs, but may at least allow immediate participation (and escape from stalking), and later be improved/upgraded, in time: one can change from one lifestyle to another at any time they are able and wish to do so… such as overcoming financial limitations, or changes in circumstance. The goal is accommodation, especially in trying to provide immediate relief and healing from stalking issues, in an emergency mode. Ergo, we now envision offering Camping and bunked roommates as additional options. The nice thing about them, is how easy-to-implement they are, and a cost effectiveness which can let the resident accumulate savings for any desired upgrade, once stability is achieved.
Rocking bed invented by Mr. Sweeney, and friends, never made it to market. Sigh.
It’s about the bed, more than any other factor
The real base-line choice, ultimately, is ‘where will I sleep?’ The answer to that question, defines the type of ‘home’ you live in, from among the several kinds of possible choices. The answer becomes the key determinant of all lifestyle differences… everything from cost, to convenience, to privacy, to the nature of day-to-day experiences. So, then, it behooves each person considering to apply for residency to also consider the basic differences against their individual needs, wishes, finances, and circumstances, to find the best answer to that base-line question. And, one must take into consideration one’s physical health and temperament, which can impose physical and other limitations in terms of ability to cope with a given lifestyle for very long.
While a given individual may certainly have preferences which transcend conventional thinking, there is a kind of order in general desirability, in terms of features and benefits… which like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. These can be inversely offset by disadvantages which may again vary among individuals as to importance. A fully equipped tiny home may prove better than a minimalist’s tiny home, and there are a lot of kinds of tiny homes, each with their own unique factors, often also a matter of taste as much as practicality. Any tiny home may seem better than an RV of some sort, where we find a motor home may be better than a travel trailer, better than a popup up or pickup truck camper. That, may be seen better than bunking in a room and board situation, or sharing space with someone who has a tiny home or RV with extra bed space. And all of that, is likely better than a tent campsite, a sleeping bag on the floor, or sleeping in one’s vehicle.
Costs and other comparisons shown herein, are certainly estimates, and as noted, subject to change. However, if the resident has desirable skills and/or is able to provide manpower useful to the operation of the community (i.e., kitchen help, crop or livestock care, general labor of any kind), credits can be earned to reduce living expenses otherwise referenced herein as ‘rent.’ It is quite possible to have all rent charges negated, and live ‘rent free,’ where such skills are in high demand and short supply. Additionally, certain items may be donated to the Community in exchange for credits. There is a long list of things we will likely need which we may not otherwise be able to purchase, at least immediately (learn more here, under donations).
Inversely, improvements should also be considered when estimating actual living expenses. All residents are free to ask for land for their tiny home, RV, or for gardens, sheds, parking area’s/carports/RV shelters, or pet projects, even if living in a dorm room or similar. One is free to construct anything within reason, be it for commercial or private use, barring things protested by the community at large. Commercial use can mean establishing a service or goods outlet for fellow residents, and/or for sale outside of the community… things which can be undertaken without customers visiting the site, perhaps by mail-order or consignment sales ‘in town.’ This will allow residents the opportunity to augment incomes, if able, and desired. Naturally, Web-based enterprise will not typically require such improvements. Any additional rent for extra space needs will be similar to the rent for the home/RV, where of like area. It should also be noted that there will be different kinds of areas available, some perhaps seen as more desirable, or ‘roomier’ than others, and that may be reflected in some variance in the rental rates.
Any such improvements must meet minimum standards of construction and appearance, for safety’s sake and to avoid slum-like appearances. All such improvements remain the property of the Society, should the resident ever decide to leave, though they may sell them to another resident if that the transaction is completed prior to vacating, and the purchaser assumes the space within thirty days of vacating. The ‘rent’ for an improved space to new residents will not increase because of improvements, unless the improvements did transfer, instead, to the Society, though some improvements may have their own operating costs, such as utilities.
The Big Three Alternatives
Will I sleep in a Tiny Home of some kind? This will not likely be an immediate option, unless the resident purchases one already assembled and has it transported to the site for installation. Even in that case, the installation may require some period of time for site preparation, such as foundation work, installation of a Septic system, water and power lines. Therefore, one of the other options may be more appropriate for initial residency, for some brief period of time, or much longer, if electing to build it, there. They can be built from a purchased kit shipped to the site, or from scratch, using a wide variety of materials and construction methods. The resident is free to build their own, or to obtain help from other residents. To learn more about tiny homes, in general, and the tremendous spectrum of truly remarkable choices they represent, visit this related page.
There is the added complexity as to the nature of the tiny home, in style, and in completeness of function. If wanting to build from scratch, a given FWH location may be able to provide timber and, hopefully, a portable sawmill, allowing lumber to be less expensive. One can also scrounge for salvage materials, to save construction costs, or elect unusual construction methods, such as modifying shipping containers. There are dozens of ways to design and build a tiny home, as exampled in the above link. Even a Yurt (a Gobi style ridged, insulated, permanent tent-like structure) can be a tiny home, a favored FWS solution as exampled; we hope to partner with a yurt maker.
For example, a tiny home need not include a full bathroom or kitchen, or any at all, if willing/intending to save money by relying upon centralized services. For like cause, one would not need a laundry room. Free Will Haven is intended to have abundant capacity for such ‘service’ needs. These things have significant impact on the size and cost of a home. One with a main living space and sleeping space, and deemed comfortable with a microwave, small refrigerator, and table-top appliances, will be half the price or better, compared to one which is truly a ‘tiny home’ in all respects.
Another major decision point is, will it be built on a foundation of some sort (built on the ground), or a towable trailer frame (portable). A portable unit enjoys that feature, and tends to be able to skirt building codes, ordinances, and use laws. If you elect a trailer-mounted construction, will you also invest in a pickup truck powerful enough to tow it, or rely on paid or borrowed/rented transport, if ever electing to relocate? While it is assumed that the resident will come as a single person to an adult facility (hopefully, in the future, we can also accommodate children), do you need to provide beds for one or more additional persons?
Advantages: superior privacy at all times desired; superior convenience in all things deemed important, such as bath, kitchen, laundry; better storage options; aesthetically more pleasing, inside, and out; possible portability; and can sleep almost any number required, if provided in the design.
Disadvantages: not typically an instant solution; can be very costly (i.e., as much as one-third the price of a normal home, though a good deal of that expense revolves around the optional incorporation of bath and kitchen); may require State, County, City permits, code restrictions, inspections… may even prove prohibited, as the more ‘home like’ a tiny home becomes in design, the more likely it is that it will fall under a law, code, or ordinance; and if not a portable design, it may be treated as a taxable home under State law (it being the intent of the Society to choose a site which insures such is not the case, if possible).
Improvements: more land for gardening or vehicle storage, fencing, storage sheds, pet projects, etc. It is possible to remodel a fixed home, but less likely in a portable version.
Operating expenses: probably light, limited to utilities, which may optionally include propane; the odd repair, which can typically be DIY (Do It Yourself); possible tax liability if not built on a trailer bed; possible sales tax on initial purchase of materials or prebuilt units. Cost for ‘rent of the land’ will vary depending on the area needed, and its amenities or improvements, and cost to the Society… likely in the range of $250 a month, give or take, plus $100 per extra person, half of which is paid by the other person, directly, though the owner is free to negotiate any financial arrangements between them and their de facto roommates. This scheme makes both responsible to each other, as well as to the Community, at large.
Will I sleep in an RV of some kind? This means a travel trailer, camper trailer, motor home (several types), or pickup camper. Depending on one’s initial circumstances in terms of things already owned or deemed financially affordable, this can be a more attractive initial choice, because if in hand prior to moving into FWH, it provides inherent means of transportation of self/and/or personal goods. Others may find availability of such a unit already on site, ready to rent or buy from another resident who no longer needs the unit, or available for purchase locally, for immediate relocation. While a new rig in these categories can prove as costly or more costly than purchase of a prebuilt tiny home, it is possible to find used units which meet minimum levels useful for comfortable and safe living for less the the cost of a tiny home. The following analysis assumes a used unit.
Advantages: less costly than a tiny home, depending on size, age, and condition — typically in the general price range of a very nice used motor vehicle (recommended not spending less than $4K for a motor home or full-sized trailer, simpler trailers (i.e., pop ups) and campers will cost less, unless also needing to buy a vehicle to tow them); immediately useful upon arrival; travel trailers and motor homes enjoy full-system lifestyle as found in a fully equipped tiny home, plus portability through motoring; all offer very good privacy, in some cases slightly reduced if and when two unites may be parked closely together to share RV hookups for power, water, and septic; no code, permit, ordinance issues; no construction required; no tax liabilities; and typically can sleep a minimum of two to six persons.
Disadvantages: no laundry provision; pop up campers and pickup campers typically have no bath or kitchen, or heat/air conditioning; if more than one person is present, there is very little floor space for maneuvering unless someone sits down out of the way, and there are no sound-proof barriers between sleeping areas — it is a more intimate lifestyle; generally, not a lot of storage space, such units intended for vacation or weekend getaways, rather than long-term living, which can prove to be hard on their system components in terms of wear and tear (more frequent repairs); no tax liability, outside of possible sales tax on initial purchase. See Operating expenses.
Improvements: same as for tiny home, but also, the addition of a metal RV shelter would be useful, saving the cost of roof resealing, which should otherwise be done every few years (if to avoid extremely expensive damage from roof leaks). Called ‘scrape and seal,’ it can be quite costly and, depending on who does it, and where, may require taking the rig to a service site and vacating the unit for several days while work is done. One can also reduce heating and cooling costs significantly by installing skirting around the rig.
Operating expenses: probably light, limited to utilities, which will likely include propane; repairs will likely be more frequent and can be costly. Almost everything is labor intensive, and parts tend to be more expensive than home counterparts. Such work is seldom DIY, requiring the rig to be taken to a specialist, which will additionally mean either licensing the vehicle or buying a trip permit (also required to initially get the unit to FWS, from wherever it comes). It is suggested that a resident try to have about $2K or so of savings at all times for emergency repairs of critical systems. Rent for space at FWH is about the same as a tiny home, give or take. Some less expensive spaces may not have septic hookups, which means using a single ‘dump station,’ which may mean moving the rig to the station, or using a portable transfer tank on wheels every so-many weeks… or, one may simply rely on community resources for showers, cooking, restrooms.
Will I sleep in a Dorm Room or similar? Each of the FWH sites considered by the Society will have one or more on-site sleeping areas already in place, either in the form of bedrooms, pods, or dormers with bunk beds for 4-6 persons, or actual dorms or bunk houses sleeping up to twenty persons, of the same sex. This becomes an excellent immediate ‘room and board’ solution for any arrival need, and is a very low-cost short- or long-term option, as it involves no purchase of a living space. Traditional bedrooms may be available for short-term stays (only — they need be available for visitors and resident guests, too), as if a room in a motel, complete with private bath, and similarly rented.
Advantages: immediate low-cost room and board solution especially useful in an emergency, or for temporary solution; no need for purchase or construction of an expensive option; no utility costs; no repair or tax expenses.
Disadvantages: little to no privacy, except for temporary access to the ‘master bedroom’ within the main home, on site; must use shared bath/kitchen areas, and likely, will need to purchase all meals in one form or another (cafeteria style, or purchase/earn foodstuffs and cook it yourself in a secondary kitchen area, also shared with others); minimalist personal storage area, unless willing to rent storage space for increased capacity (intended to be available on site); must get along well with others, who may have their own issues.
Improvements: none needed, but a possibility for storage, gardening or pet projects, commercial ventures.
Operating expenses: almost none. Cost is expected to be in the range of $350 a month, room and board, or $175 a month, room only. It is not a given that both options will be available, dependent upon the nature of facilities available at the actual FWH location we end up with.
Tripsavvy (com) has lots of ideas on ‘roughing it’ in comfort
Urgent and Low-Cost Options:
The dorm option is such a low cost option, and it certainly eliminates virtually any logistical roadblock, save extreme financial impediments. The hardest part is simply getting from one’s current home to FWH… a simple transportation issue. Once in a dorm situation, or any of the other immediate and low-cost options, below, it is possible to ‘upgrade’ to a tiny home or RV of your own, once having saved money enough to do so. Income, minus ‘rent’ and expenses, will tell you how quickly you can save towards an upgrade.
But the dorm is not the only ‘bunking’ option. Once in a dorm, one can also apply to become a roommate with someone in a tiny home or RV. An approval process intended to help better insure compatibility, will allow matching applicants with persons who have an extra bed to share in their Tiny Home or RV, hoping to reduce their own living expenses even further. The cost they might ask will be negotiated between parties, it being true that the owner of the rig will find their monthly costs increasing, and will want to offset not only that, but their own living expenses. Additionally, the dormer resident’s ’rent’ for facility access will drop to $50 a month, and meals will no longer be provided, unless separately purchased.
Camping is also an option. All you need is a tent, and the Society may already have them available. Or, we may have indoor space available such that all that is needed is a sleeping bag. Plan on using the Cafeteria, though there will be fire pits and picnic areas. Cost is projected to be $275 a month (includes meals), using our tent or an indoor space with your sleeping bag, or $250 if you use your own tent, or just $75 if you will deal with meals on your own. We do hope to have fishing and hunting on site, and access to needed gear and instructors, though there will be costs and requirements in place, some required by law.
And, we might suppose, you could temporarily sleep in your vehicle. Mr. Sweeney has lived in his car for nearly two years… without the luxury of central services, and seldom found himself grumbling, unless it was too cold in the winter, regardless of how well bundled. Most FWH sites being considered, seldom experience freezing temperatures.
This is Camp and Furnace, a unique tavern, eatery, hospice (they rent the trailers), and event site in Liverpool, a repurposed factory building from the early Industrial Age of Great Britain. There are FWH sites which would support something quite similar.