Big Heart, Tiny Home

One Woman's Quest to Give the Gift of Tiny Living

Ellen Stone is a champion advocate for tiny homes. She worked with city officials for years to adopt legislation which allows movable tiny houses to be legal ADUs in San Diego. That legislation passed in July of 2020, but she didn't stop there!

When Ellen married her sweetheart, their friends and family gave them money to buy a tiny home. They unexpectedly bought a 'standard' home though and no longer needed the money. “We decided we wanted to put that little tiny home nest egg into something that helps someone else since somebody helped us,” she said. So, Ellen worked with Urban Corp of San Diego County to create a tiny house build program at the 'second chance' school. She paid $75,000 for materials and labor to have them build a house for her as a part of the job training pilot program. But, she didn’t stop there! 

Ellen then placed the house in her yard and offered it as affordable housing to an Urban Corp student. The first student ‘renter’ is Abdul Safi. The nineteen-year-old had to flee Afghanistan two years ago.  He is excited to be living at the 170 square feet tiny home for only $200 a month. “If I get somewhere where I can help someone,” Safi said, “I will give them this feeling that I have right now.”

Ellen Stone has inspired something big— Urban Corp is offering now to build a tiny home for anyone who will pay for the materials and provide space for a tiny home in their yard to be used by a student in need.

Ellen was the first person in the city of San Diego to legally place a movable tiny home in her yard. Learn how she is now helping other homeowners accomplish their goal with her company Tiny Home Central. 


More about Urban Corps: 

Young adults in Urban Corps may have dropped out of high school due to involvement with gangs or drugs, becoming a young parent, or an undiagnosed learning disability. Some are refugees with limited English or aged out of the foster system without a diploma. A growing number are homeless. On average 90 percent of graduates are either placed in jobs following commencement or are enrolled in higher education.


Article written by Renee

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