Andrey Ivanov and his team have a vision for helping provide a solution for many who are facing the ever-growing housing crisis
For Clark County Today
A new solution for the ever-growing housing crisis has been implemented here in Clark County, with reach into northern Washington all the way down into Gaston, Oregon, where a nine-acre manufacturing site has been established. Andrey Ivanov and his team at Flash Love recently delivered the first of what he says will be many tiny homes for people who are struggling for different reasons, and the full program will be up and running in approximately six weeks.
Ivanov saw a need in the community; a need to break the cycle of young men growing up fatherless, or without the means to learn essential life skills, which often leads to their incarceration. Aside from this problem, the youth of today are also now faced with astronomical housing costs that make it close to impossible for them to venture out on their own (that is, out of their parents’ homes). The skyrocketing housing costs, whether one rents or gets a loan to purchase, makes it likely that youth will continue to be slaves to the “bureaucratic trap,” as Ivanov put it, of working 40-plus hours per week and having little time and energy to do anything else.
“We need our youth to be able to see their future outside of this bureaucratic approach,” Ivanov said. “With the way of life that we now call ‘normal,’ there is no time for dreams. There’s no time for our youth to follow a path where they can do big things for their communities and the world and become true leaders. They’re getting left behind. And many others are getting left behind too. With this project, we are empowering youth to take control of their own futures, and we’re also taking an ethical and Biblical approach to caring for our elders, our disabled, and our struggling mothers and families.”
Ivanov was alluding to the multi-faceted models Flash Love has set up to care for the aforementioned groups. More on that below.
The first prototype of the tiny home was delivered 44 miles west of Olympia to Ally Washington. Ally saw her rent raised by 30 percent in the past year (over the last year-and-one-day, to be exact, for legality purposes) and was no longer able to meet her rent obligations. A mother of four, Ally found herself facing a difficult situation without having adequate housing for her family. This is where Flash Love came in. The prototype 12 x 24’ home, which is rated to last for 500 years with the way Ivanov and his team builds them, was delivered to Ally, who purchased the unit for $25,000. She will put another $20,000 to $30,000 into it (depending on how fancy she wants to get) for carpeting, tile, etc., and when all is said and done, she will have a $200,000 home in her name. This unit was set on her mother’s property on a lake, and Ally plans to work to purchase a second unit to place in the Vancouver area, and then she will turn the other one into a vacation rental.
Ally’s story is all too common with skyrocketing housing costs and raising rents. But not everyone has a location on which to put their tiny home. Ivanov has a plan for that as well, which is part of the five models outlined below.
Ivanov has partnered with the Grand Ronde tribes to help bring this vision to fruition in a mutually advantageous arrangement. The tribes are in desperate need of housing for many of their members, specifically many men who are on the streets going in and out of rehab. There is very little housing currently on the reservation, and approximately 500 homes are needed to make sure all members are housed. There is also a big problem for members attempting to fix the problem on their own, in that banks are not likely to do business with tribes because they are sovereign nations, which means they technically don’t have to follow the contracts. So there is no housing, and no money with which to remedy the problem.
The unique solution to the problem is this: Ivanov and his team will train and assist a mother-daughter team of women who are spearheading the housing project for the reservation and get them licensed as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Then, they are able to contract with their own land for properties to be built. Ivanov and team members will do the actual building, and in exchange they will be allowed to use about 50 percent of the trees on their property.
“This empowers the women to take control of their own community,” Ivanov said. “The land is critical to implementing this process, and they’ve got it. They have the land and the materials, the trees, and we have the ability to build and clear some of their land with the trees we can use for their homes. We can also use the timber to build the houses for others as well- the youth, the elderly, the mentally ill.”
The mother-daughter team mentioned above, Perry McDaniel and Delia Sanchez, respectively, were able to previously write grants to purchase 10-15 corrugated plastic “safe community” houses that are being utilized for the homeless in Portland, and right here in Vancouver as well. These houses are eight feet by eight feet in size and cost about $30,000 each, Ivanov said. They have heat and a mattress but do not have their own bathrooms or room to make it a home.
“That’s not good enough,” Ivanov said. “Not when we have a better and tangible solution.”
Ivanov said that there were 653,000 trees burned in forest fires in 2021. “That’s enough to build 13,000,060 tiny homes- that’s houses for almost the entire population of California!”
Ivanov described the five models he has set up, each aimed at helping a different group of community members.
For the Elderly
The first model is aimed at caring for the elderly and has multiple ways it can be implemented. When an elderly person is all but abandoned on their property, they may start to be delinquent on their taxes and/or utility bills. Eventually, the state may intervene and deem the person “incompetent,” making them a ward of the state, and they may also take over their property and finances for them. This often leads to the home being sold, and the elderly homeowner getting enough money to keep them in a nursing home for the rest of their life.
Ivanov sees the solution as setting up a care community for these elderly with multiple tiny homes set up on this person’s property: In exchange for use of the land and access to timber, the homeowner will get an ADA-compliant tiny home built for them, along with lifetime tenancy and access to care, as one of the homes on the property will be for a nurse. Other elderly community members who also have low funds and a high need for care can take up residency on this property as well. The original home, if possible, will be fixed up to be a sort of community center for the residents, and if it’s beyond repair, it will be demolished.
A plot of land can also be donated or purchased to set up this type of model.
For the Women
This model is specifically for women who have survived things like domestic violence incidents and relationships. Many times, women are cast out of their homes with children in tow when her husband is arrested for domestic violence, as he’s generally the bread winner while the mother cares for her children (of course, this can be opposite as well, and there is an option to make a community for the fathers cast out, but they will be housed in separate communities). This type of housing is set up on a plot of land (donated or purchased) and cares for the immediate needs of the family.
This model is meant to be a temporary solution while the mother stabilizes and is able to find work and childcare, as well as a more permanent place to raise her family.
For the Youth
This is a co-community set up, where the youth (generally college-aged) are able to get trained on how to build their own units, then they receive their own kit, free of charge upon completion of 1,000 hours of service in building for others. As an additional incentive, students who have completed the Spartan Course start the tiny home program with 200 service hours already completed. Flash Love is also working on being able to provide loans to those who get one of his tiny homes if they need it, to complete the furnishings, etc., for the home.
“With ridiculous housing costs out of the way,” Ivanov said, “these kids can really live. They can follow their dreams and give back to the community. They can build more than one unit and rent out the others to create an income for themselves if they choose. Think of what the youth can accomplish when they have the time to do it!”
For the Foster Care System
One vision Ivanov has is for a tiny home community to be set up to house up to 20 children who are in the foster care system. An advantage to these communities, Ivanov said, is that they will be located on acreage property that can accommodate a food garden, as well as job training. So the children housed here, along with at least two care givers and one nurse, will be able to learn valuable and necessary life skills in order to succeed while they are temporarily housed in the community and permanent homes and families are found for them.
For the Mentally Ill
This is another model that will have one dedicated to males and one to females, for safety reasons. Ivanov would like to partner with the State and the prison system to identify candidates for this model, those who have been “thrown away,” as Ivanov put it, into the prison system for crimes that can mainly be attributed to their need for mental health attention. Washington State is severely behind on assisting the mentally ill, and this, Ivanov believes, is a solution that will alleviate the system while also bringing real help to many who need it.
In a community dedicated to one gender, including medical staff and security, tiny homes would be set up for mentally ill patients who can use their energy to get care, enjoy nature, get job training in some cases, learn to farm their own food, etc., rather than be on the streets with no help and then end up back in prison after committing more crimes. Ivanov said the state pays approximately $8,000 per day per person to keep this group of people in prisons, and also that other care homes won’t take them due to their increased risk to harm themselves or others. This group of people, Ivanov said, do not belong in prison, but they do need assistance and they do need security. This model offers both.
“I don’t necessarily need the hands to help with this whole project,” Ivanov said. “I could have automated the whole thing and made a lot of money for a small group of people. But making money isn’t my intent. My intent is to equip us for the future and care for our community.”
He continued, “If you give people time, freedom, training and certifications, and even seed money, they can do more than we ever thought possible. They can use one unit for their home and use another for their bakery, for a small business, for a rental, for whatever they want! This is the lynchpin to American freedom.”
Ivanov is always looking for groups or people to partner with Flash Love to bring the homelessness crisis under control.
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