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Tiny House in My Backyard

Raised toward our $10,000 Goal
69 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on February 28, at 11:59 PM PST
Project Owners

Tiny House in My Backyard (THIMBY) 3.0!

THIMBY 3.0: The future of backyard homes to address displacement and homelessness.


We are Tiny House in My Backyard (THIMBY), a team of architecture, engineering, and policy students with the goal of building tiny, sustainable, and affordable homes. We aim to pilot a backyard homes program of off-grid tiny houses in Richmond, California to provide shelter to unhoused individuals and families at no cost. 

THIMBY originally began as a band of graduate students who won second place in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Tiny House Competition in Fall 2016. The Tiny, Living Lab aimed to design and build a net-zero energy, off-grid tiny house, and became a pioneer for microgrid communities, tiny housing development, and advanced energy communities. THIMBY 2.0 applied this idea of ‘tiny living’ to unhoused individuals in the Bay Area, by successfully constructing a ‘tiny house on wheels’ for a family at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program. The team transformed a decommissioned school bus into a solar-powered home for Constance and her two children, Miracle and David, who are now happily settled. Through this process, they gained a community network of partners, sponsors, and actors in Richmond who are continuing to support our journey in our third project.

The THIMBY team at our weekly team Zoom meeting!


  • First and foremost, we hope that the tiny house unit will provide a comfortable transitional housing option for those who are otherwise displaced by the Bay Area’s rising cost of living and the social and economic ramifications of the pandemic. With the onset COVID-19 and an acute housing crisis, overcrowded shelters are no longer feasible for all those are displaced or unhoused. This home and a future backyard homes provide could provide a more private and safer alternative for some of these individuals.

  • By engaging students, homeowners, and community organizations, we have the ability to educate others about sustainable housing and renewable energy. 

  • With the expansion of this project, we hope more homeowners will consider offering their own backyards to support members of their community, as true change first happens at the local level.

But this can't happen without your help. Your donation to the THIMBY 3.0 will go towards fostering community, amplifying the needs and voices of those who are unhoused, and addressing some of the most significant crises facing the Bay Area today. Join us and help us to reach our goal of raising $10,000 to build a backyard home this spring! Show your support for the project by making a tax-deductible donation.

A section view of the THIMBY 3.0 project as designed by our architecture and design students.


For THIMBY's third iteration, we’re focused on making a cost-effective, scalable tiny house model with the help of our partner, Richmond-based Community Housing Development Corporation TentMakers, Inc., that has the potential to be adopted by local governments and organizations. The house itself will be constructed by students and members of the Richmond community from exclusively reclaimed or recycled materials.

Most importantly, this home will be sustainable and resilient by incorporating:

  • Affordable Building Materials: reclaimed wood, recycled denim insulation, etc.

  • Energy Independence: 2.4 kW solar array, battery storage

  • Water Efficiency: low flow-rate fixtures, rainwater and greywater filtration

We will create a healthy and comfortable living space through:

  • Air Quality Monitoring: student-designed and inexpensive

  • Active Ventilation: PM 2.5 filtration with heat-recovery

  • Full Electrification: no hazards associated with natural gas or propane usage

  • Compact Design: lofted bedroom, multi-purpose and built-in furniture

Even during an unprecedented age for students, the THIMBY team is still (safely) focusing on this project as a means of supporting those most vulnerable to the ramifications of the pandemic.


We already have a site for the tiny house, a team of community partners and students alike, and industry sponsors willing to generously contribute the project. Where will your donation go? They’ll go towards everything we need to get the home up and running once we have the trailer—that includes all building materials and essential appliances.

You can help us! Your donation of $55 will buy 100 feet of 2x6 reclaimed lumber for our flooring!



We’re not in this alone! We have some amazing partners that are providing us with expertise and materials to construct this home:

  • Sustainable Housing at California (SHAC): Our student organization founded in partnership with Solar Decathlon. Please check out their crowdfunding page!

  • TentMakers Inc., 501(c)(3): A Bay Area community development nonprofit generously providing mentorship, fiscal sponsorship, and outreach support.

  • GRID Alternatives: A nonprofit organization that brings the benefits of solar technology to communities that would otherwise not have access, and are providing the solar PV system installation and guidance!

  • RichmondBUILD: A Richmond nonprofit focused on developing talent and skill in the high growth, high wage construction and renewable energy fields.

  • 475 High Performance Building Supply: The company has generously donated their Lunos e2 ventilation system.

  • Warmboard, Inc.: The company has generously donated their radiant floor heating system.

  • High Sierra Showerheads: The company has generously donated their 1.25 GPM shower head.

  • UC Berkeley Faculty: Various professors and researchers who provide constant mentorship, technical assistance, and have inspired us from the beginning to take action on issues we're passionate about.

  • All of you!

For further information please read more at or email us at 

Our way
of Thanking You


Personalized Thank You Message

A personalized digital thank you message from the members of THIMBY!

15 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2021


Digital Shoutout

Receive a shoutout on all of our Social Media platforms!

6 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2021


Handwritten Thank You Postcard

A handwritten thank you postcard with an image of THIMBY on it!

9 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2021


THIMBY Digital Poster & Photos

Received insider access photos of our project as well as a digital poster of THIMBY that can be immediately downloaded for printing.

5 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2021


Invitation to Opening Ceremony

Receive an invitation to join the current members of THIMBY and SHAC for our THIMBY 3.0 Opening Ceremony!

4 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2021


Name Engraving

Have your name engraved on THIMBY 3.0 interior wood paneling!

0 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2021
Our Crowdfunding Groups