LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Tiny houses, or houses under 1,000 square-feet, are popping up all over the country. Millennials and retirees are trading in their traditional houses for tiny ones.
Habitat for Humanity is catching on the trend.
For many homeowners, they are a way to save money. Habitat for Humanity said can build two tiny houses for the price of one regular-sized house.
Next week, they will put up the walls on their first tiny house.
"This is where my life starts, with this home," said Raymond Donaldson. He will soon be Habitat for Humanity of Central Arkansas' first tiny home owner.
"A tiny home just means I need to be able to fit in the home, so it's motivation to become a tiny person. But, a home is a home. If its tiny, if its giant, once you call it yours its yours, and that's the main thing I'm happy about. It could have been a cardboard box with a label that said ‘this is Raymond's house,' and because it's given to me, I'm blessed to have it."
Things have not always been easy for the 24 year-old.
"It was rough. There were times we were trying to figure out how we were going to make ends-meat, but my mom did everything she could to be sure we had a roof over our head and food on our plates. It may not have been the best, but she always made things happen. And I appreciate her more than anything for doing so."
His luck has since turned around. He has a steady job and a group of high school students he mentors.
"I always wished I had a big brother to look up to. I try to be that big brother at the church."
Soon, he will even have a place to call his own. Habitat for Humanity said the new, tiny homes will be easier for homeowners, like Raymond, trying to get on their feet.
"We've noticed over the years, that we have a lot of single individuals applying for Habitat Homes; whether they be widowers, or young people, or disabled veterans. And when you put someone by themselves in to a 1,300 square foot, three bedroom, two bath home, they've got to keep it clean, they've got to keep the yard up, and they've got those other things to come up with," said Steve Biernacki, with Habitat for Humanity.
All of which made a single guy like Donaldson the perfect candidate.
"We'd like to create a home where he's spending less than $600 a year on utilities, so about $50 a month. We are hoping to have [Donaldson] in the home for $300 to $325 a month," Biernacki added.
The tiny home may only be 700 square-feet, but for Raymond, it means big opportunities for his even bigger dreams.
"This place will be, not just my home, but it will be open to all my friends, all my friends' children, all the children of the church. If they need somewhere to relax, to do their homework, to feel safe. This is a safe space. This is a place God has built. So, it will be a safe haven for God's people," Donaldson said.
THV11 will be helping put the walls up at Donaldson's new house next Saturday as a part of our Make A Difference Day.
Stay tuned with THV11 and THV11.com for updates on Donaldson's house and Make A Difference Day.