Gwinnett Housing Corporation and Microlife Institute Partner to Develop Gwinnett's First "Tiny Home" Community

Gwinnett County tiny homes planned to boost affordable housing
By Tyler Wilkins – Staff Reporter, Atlanta Business Chronicle Feb 14, 2024

A couple of nonprofits are teaming up to create the first residential development of its kind in Gwinnett County.
MicroLife Institute and Gwinnett Housing Corp. are searching for a site to build a community of cottage-style homes, each of which would be up to 750 square feet in size. The announcement comes about a month after an overhaul of zoning and land-use regulations went into effect for the suburban county.

As the county grows, Gwinnett officials are trying to expand housing supply with a mix of small, attainable options. The Board of Commissioners made an update in late 2023 to its unified development ordinance, which allows duplexes, triplexes and similar types of housing to be built.

Atlanta is losing its affordable edge in the competition against other metro areas for economic development. The issue is compounded by limited housing inventory and high mortgage rates. Local officials are turning toward “missing middle” housing as a solution. The term applies to developments with the density and scale between a single-family home and mid-rise apartment building.
“By offering affordably priced homes, we hope that more families can achieve their dreams of homeownership,” said Lejla Prljaca, CEO of Gwinnett Housing Corp., in a prepared statement.

Gwinnett Housing Corp. received a development grant from the county to support the pilot project. It could consist of 10 to 14 homes, though the precise number will depend on the site, said Will Johnston, founder and executive director of MicroLife Institute.
The cottage-style homes will be sold at attainable prices to families earning no more than 80% of the area median income. An ideal site would be within walking distance of amenities and transit, Johnston said. He hopes to identify a parcel for the project by this summer.
Johnston founded MicroLife Institute to create attainable housing and educate others about how to do the same in their own communities. The nonprofit developed its first project in Clarkston, where all eight residences sold between $119,000 and $201,000 in 2021.

In 2023, the City of Decatur passed a similar ordinance to expand the types of housing that can be built in single-family neighborhoods. MicroLife Institute is helping city officials with a strategy for developing a tiny-home project in the downtown area.
Gwinnett Housing Corp. is the development arm of the Lawrenceville Housing Authority. Established in 1997, the nonprofit focuses on creating, rehabilitating and operating affordable housing in the county.

“By fostering collaboration and extending our efforts to Gwinnett County and neighboring counties, we aspire to weave a tapestry of thriving communities, reinforcing the bonds that make us stronger together,” said Johnston in a prepared statement.

Link directly to the Atlanta Business Chronicle Article here.