These Nova Scotians moved into old school buses to cope with rising housing prices

In the face of rising rents in rural Nova Scotia, a 12-meter school bus seems to be Hannah Verra’s best choice.

She admitted that the exterior of the 25-year-old bus, which was purchased for $2500 earlier this year, was a bit rough, and yellow cracks could still be seen in the red paint, which reminded its past life that the road was crowded with children .

But inside, you will find that Verra and her two children have a comfortable home.

“My housing desire is to live in comfortable and affordable housing, but there is nothing in the area,” said Vela, who lives in West Dublin, Lunenburg County, South Bank of Venus State. . .

Since she is self-employed, Verra said she could not obtain a mortgage and ended up living for several months at an unsustainable short-term rent. She spent several months renovating the bus and plans to move in at the end of May.

Verra used an old RV sofa and dining table and chairs on the bus. She estimated that she spent thousands of dollars on wood, but most of the supplies have been donated. (Hannah Verra)

She is not the only Nova Scotia who has to drastically reduce the size to cope with what many people call Affordable housing crisis in the province.

Facebook group, Tiny Family Guy in Nova ScotiaAccording to one of its founders, the epidemic of the “virus” has “exploded” and the number of members increased from approximately 1,000 to more than 7,000 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to turn a bus into a home

When Verra bought her bus, all seats except the driver’s seat were removed. Since then, she tore the propane stove from the old RV and the diagonal wall on the side of the rear of the car to use for cooking, utensils, dinettes and sofas.

She said: “On the other side is the children’s room with a bunk bed, which is almost complete. It is painted purple, decorated, and carpeted.”

A sloping wall at the back of the bus separates Verra’s room from the children’s bunk beds. (Hannah Verra)

The space is insulated and heated by a wood-burning stove.

Verra is installing LED lights driven by solar energy and steel water tanks, which will travel along both sides of the bus to collect rainwater. She also has a composting toilet.

This bus was largely built with free items she obtained from a group called Facebook WeShare Lennenberg County, Donated to her by someone who was a stranger at the time, but now she recites her name under a very familiar name.

The faucet came from Sandy, and Sheila provided a bed frame, which, along with other donated items, was turned into a “small cabinet for love to build”.

Verra moved to Nova Scotia in June 2020. She said that the lack of affordable housing options in her province was an important factor in her decision to buy a bus. (Hannah Verra)

“For me, it’s more important than what I just bought at the hardware store, because… so I remember I took apart the bed frame while standing in Sheila’s garage and chatting with me,” Vera said.

This Ontario native is no stranger to living in cramped spaces. Before moving to Nova Scotia last June, she lived on a sailing boat with her family and explored the Western Caribbean before the pandemic forced them back to Canada.

However, she is not sure how she would be received by taking the bus with her children.

She said: “Living in a trailer, bus or mobile home, I think it may be related to this, but with the popularity of the community, this may be changing.”

Her short-term plan was to park the bus near Petite Rivière near the property of her friend Heather Dawn. Since November, Liming has been living in his school bus with his 11-year-old daughter.

Housing prices are out of reach

During the pandemic, Dawn’s four-bedroom house was being rented out and planning to buy a house in Halifax, which suddenly became out of reach.

She said: “I stopped for a while, it’s really like reconsidering my investment.” “I can spend all my savings on the down payment for the house…or I can take a completely different approach.”

Liming decided to take the $50,000 she had saved and buy a property with some outbuildings and chicken coops, and a school bus from 1993. The $6,000 in exchange for it has been partially converted.

Heather Dawn, who runs a small off-grid bakery on her property, said that life on the bus means she can spend more time with her 11-year-old daughter. (Heather Dawn)

Her bus does not rely on the grid at all. The walls and ceiling are decorated with wood, “So it feels like you are in the cabin.” The tiny space means Dawn and her daughter spend a lot of time outside. .

Liming said that life on the school bus also provided them with more good times because she was not worried about working long hours to pay the bills.

She said: “This really challenges your idea of ??how much space is actually needed.” “I really can’t imagine living a’normal’ life now.”

She said that the regulations regarding living on buses in the Lunnenburg district are not yet fully understood. She said that because the house has wheels, no development permit is required, but there are also rules about not fixing these spaces permanently.

Dawn’s buses are off the grid and are powered by solar energy. (Heather Dawn)

Currently, what is allowed depends on the location of Nova Scotia and its small structure. But Carolyn Hokold, who helped found the Tiny Family People Organization in Nova Scotia, said she hopes to see relaxed regulations so that more people can do what Vera and Dawn did.

When the group was established in 2014, it was mainly “Internet proficient, fashionable, middle-class [people] The situation is not so bad. “Hocquard said.

She said: “Now, this type of housing is becoming more and more popular with those who have no choice but to find a place to live. Although small houses are small and much cheaper, they are still unavailable for some people.”

For Verra, her “do it yourself” bus project gave her a lot of time to think about what family means to her.

She said: “I think everyone should have the safety of their own home.” “I think everyone should be respected in which type of house they choose or what type of house they are forced to live in.”

Mainstreet NS9:57Meet two Nova Scotia people who abandoned the housing market and used a 40-foot school bus

Heather Dawn and Hannah Verra both bought and refurbished old school buses and said it changed their perceptions of comfort, space and what we actually need in life. 9:57

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