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Tiny homes in Bakersfield face big challenge

A tiny home built by Tiny Heirloom (photo source: tinyheirloom.com)

A group in Bakersfield is trying to bring the tiny home trend to Kern County but they first have to find a location where it is legal to live in them.

"The hardest part of living in a tiny home really is not getting power to it, or dealing with the plumbing or sewage or even adapting to that smaller space," said Scott Leonard, the president of Bakersfield Tiny Homes. "The hardest part about living in a tiny home is the legal aspect of it."

Leonard says his group is looking to create a tiny home village by purchasing a piece of land in Bakersfield that can be zoned for camping or a trailer park.

But tiny homes tend to have a much different aesthetic than RV's or doublewides.

Homes sold by companies like Tiny Heirloom are regularly featured on social media and design blogs. If you want to build your own, websites like Vina's Tiny House sell design plans. These companies are fueled by a generation's desire to live frugally and not be tied down to a mortgage or a location.

"I just don't want to work so hard," said Leonard. "I'm tired of getting up at 5 in the morning, working until 6 just to pay off student loans and all these expenses."

Leonard is not alone in feeling the pressure of rising housing costs. According to a study by Abodo, rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Bakersfield rose 8% from February to March, tying Boston for the 7th largest increase in the country.

Purchasing a home can be restrictive as well, especially for single millennials.

"The only option right now is one of these huge homes, so the main goal of our group is to give people an alternative of smaller living and all the benefits that come with it, because one does not exist," said Leonard.

For more information on the group, Bakersfield Tiny Homes, check out their Facebook page.

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