Orange Mound man hopes to bring new life to neighborhood through tiny homes

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) — An Orange Mound man has a tiny fix.

Recently, Dwayne Jones built three homes, popularly referred to as “tiny homes” in the Orange Mound neighborhood. He likes to refer to them as “cozy homes.”

One of them sits on the corner of Supreme Ave. and Buntyn St. It sticks out with its blue siding in the neighborhood mostly filled with brick homes but the size, though small, isn’t too dramatic from the surrounding homes. A one bedroom, it’s 480 square feet.

Jones, an architect and builder, is an Orange Mound native. He says it’s the not same neighborhood he grew up in.

“It was vibrant but now we have a lot of abandoned houses, vacant lots,” he said.

Recently, the Shelby Co. Assessor’s Office announced property values fell 30% in Orange Mound over the last ten years.

“To do a two to three bedroom house, for construction costs, you’re looking at  a$120,000 to $150,000 house. With the neighborhood, it’s not conducive or we can’t find people willing to pay that much for a house in Orange Mound,” he said.

Jones describes himself as an affordable housing advocate. He hopes the new homes can be a tiny fix for the community while also reducing the carbon footprint.

His homes range from $40,000 to $65,000, he said.

“I really want to rebuild this community, take this model and go to North Memphis, go to Frayser, go to South Memphis because there are too many people that need affordable housing,” he said.

Jones said feedback has been mixed. Some support his work, while others question the look and size in the neighborhood. Still, he hopes to gain more community and political backing to add more of the homes.

One difficulty he faces, he said, is obtaining mortgages for the properties. Jones said many banks don’t want to provide housing loans for less than $50,000.

He also said one of his goals is to get an ordinance zoning change that would allow him to put multiple tiny homes on one large lot.

Jones plans to host an open house for the new home on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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