Stephanie Henschen made a 260 square foot tiny home for her thesis project at University of South Florida. Now the Director of Admissions for Sun City Center's Sun Towers, Debbie Caneen owns the thesis project with a potential development in mind; to make an affordable income housing park filled with tiny homes.

Going tiny

Debbie Caneen has nearly 400 employees at Sun Towers in Sun City Center. But not all of them can afford to rent an apartment or home in the area whose populations age majority is over 55. "These are young kids coming to work entry level jobs," Caneen said to Tampa Bay Times, "The least expensive thing to rent is around $1,400 a month.

If you make mimimum wage, you can't afford to live there."

Debbie Caneen bought the tiny house project for $30,000. She recently bought a some land from a local realtor that was once a mobile home park. Right now the tiny house sits outside of the Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin located on 101 1st Ave NE. She plans to use that tiny house as a model home and then later as her own home once the tiny house park has been established.

"The average cost of a home in Sun City Center is about $200,000," Sandy Council said to Tampa Bay Times, "Debbie is trying to find a solution to this bid challenge. This is the alternative." The average American home is about 2,600 square feet. The largest tiny house built is about 960 square feet.

But some of those types of homes can go as tiny as 150 square feet.

Tiny community

Debbie Caneen's venturous business spirit comes to light when she's talking about a tiny home community located in a small plot of land close to Sun Towers, the Amazon Warehouse, and a community college campus. Debbie Caneen named it circle pond because the homes will be circled around the pond.

She plans on keeping the rent low for as little as $375 a month. She wants the pond to be stocked with fish and provide residents plots for gardening and growing their own plants.

"My husband just built us a nice tiny house and I can't wait to live there," Caneen said. Debbie is hoping to become the first resident in the tiny house community that she plans to develop.

Some alternatives to Affordable Housing for some of Debbie's employees include mobile homes or living with their parents. She hopes that this community could be beneficial for the young people in the workforce around the Sun City Center. There will be a tiny house show in November, but people can come by the Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin for a tour inside a tiny home.