SHTF Housing Solution – Multigenerational

One of my favorite writers is fond of saying that SHTF will more likely take the form of your brother-in-law sleeping on the couch than raving zombie mobs stealing your food.  In many countries multigenerational housing is the norm as citizens try to combat poverty and lack of infrastructure.  Three or more generations living together can be beneficial for all involved, especially when help is needed for child or elder care. The secret is getting out, (and the economy is getting worse) and there are now some 21.8 million Americans (greater than 16%) living in such households around the country.

The financial and emotional benefits of living together – not only do you save money by having a joined household, but you save on stress, time and other resources by having in-home day care. (Remember, day care can be for children or for elders or both.) The Pew Research Center reported that the poverty rate among those who live in multi-generational homes was 11.5% in 2009, compared to 14.6% for those who didn’t live with other adults other than their spouse or partner. The emotional bonds are priceless. The young and the old gain so much comfort by being around one another.  I read somewhere that a child with a living grandma can be expected to have better quality and quantity of food as they grow up.

Privacy – it is important to lay out ground rules and discuss expectations about privacy. Put these things in writing at the beginning.  NOTHING in my experience breaks up a happy homestead quicker than people thinking their privacy is being trampled.

Designing or remodeling your home to accommodate adult children or elderly parents? Put those guest bedrooms to work; go from a 2 car garage to a 1 car garage and turn that space into a mom-in-law suite.  Think you can’t possibly find space for another family? I’ve seen 3 bedroom houses with 3 families in them; 2 kids, 5 adults, 1 bathroom. External storage, whether it’s a shed or a rental-storage can help keep duplicate furniture from cluttering up space.

Financial and legal planning – Some cities have zoning laws about how many unrelated people can live in one house.  There may even be laws out there about how many people per room you can have.  Be sure to check into YOUR city’s laws.

Are you prepared for another generation to join your living arrangement?


Sorry for the short post, the Calamity family is exhausted.  Y’all might find it interesting, and it kinda ties in with today’s post on housing,  so here’s the scoop.  The doomstead has a massive mold problem.  For those that don’t know/can’t remember, the doomstead is a concrete bermed house. The subfloor heating system should look like this:

We did tubing like this, stapled to spacing 1x1s and used sand around the tubes for thermal mass.

But instead looks more like this:

These were coming up through the floor boards.

Except grosser.

So, we are tearing out floorboards and building a shed to hold furniture. We’ll probably have to clear it all the way to the concrete and start over.  We haven’t got enough torn apart to figure out where all the water is coming from and how much of the subfloor has been compromised. That picture will hopefully emerge as we progress through this summer.

Luckily, work and family arrangements are such that there’s only a couple of people living there part time.  So, exposure to anything is limited. But, we need to get to the bottom of it and get it solved or no one will be able to live there.

Nobody said it would be easy. :-P

– Calamity Jane