Holms looks to create homes for students

Photo of Ben Holms, senior communications major.

Photo of Ben Holms, senior communications major.

Moving out after college is a large priority for many students, but is sadly often unattainable. With the rising prices in the housing market, paying for student loans and trying to find a stable job, there isn’t much hope for the average graduate. One Union student would like to see that change.

Ben Holms is a Communications major in his final year. A Colorado native, he’s familiar with mile-high prices for housing and is uncertain of where he’ll end up next because of it.

“I look at the housing here, at home and even in surrounding states and it’s ridiculous how expensive housing and even renting is,” Ben comments. “I think there should be low-income housing for lower-income individuals.”

Holms introduced the idea of microhouses as an option for low-income students. Though not a new concept, microhouses have yet to reach many places in the U.S., the Midwest included.

What exactly is a microhouse? Holms defines it as a “transportable, condensed house comfortable enough to be lived in by a small family for a long period of time.” Because of its small size, its cost is much less than a house or apartment.

“I would like to see this created especially for students and recent graduates because we can’t afford real housing,” says Holms, an almost-graduate himself. The low cost of the microhouses would also be affordable for low-income families and could help reduce homelessness. Another advantage for  the size of the microhouse is that it would be energy efficient and could use materials made from recycled items.

“The ones that intrigued me were made out of shipping containers,” Holms reveals. “Because they’re made out of steel, the outside is low maintenance and it’s easy to recycle them. They’re also easier to move and the shipping cost to move them is semi-reasonable depending on where it’s going.”

This would make moving for jobs much more efficient; the entire house could be moved rather than needing to buy and sell property every time. Specific areas for these houses could be created, potentially benefitting cities across America. The houses would ideally be placed in green spaces, areas with more nature, woods and fields, made specifically for the purpose of hosting microhouses.

“This would be beneficial to the community too, and if placed strategically around the city it could help create a more inviting and natural environment within the urban setting,” Holms says excitedly. He believes green spaces such as these would help us to relax and become more focused.

“That’s why people go to the mountains, go fishing, or just seek out nature in general. Getting away from technology and into nature helps our creativity and mental health.”

Holms and his father have been working out a business plan around microhousing, hoping to get realtors interested in the idea of small, portable houses that could be sold quickly and to purchase land where they could be created. Though far from being a concrete business, Holms would love to end up owning a company that focuses on microhousing.

“I really think this could help a lot of struggling students and people. Affordable housing is almost impossible to find and microhousing could be the answer to that if we can just get people interested.”

His passion for this project is obvious. Perhaps the future will allow it come true.

Graci Escobar is a junior English major with an emphasis on speaking and writing. She loves cats, napping, reading, cuddling cats, browsing independently unpublished stories, binge-watching Netflix, and petting cats. Born and raised here in Lincoln, Graci would love to see the ocean more than seven times and hopes to one day hug every cat in the world.