Students at Auburn University's Rural Studio are building 550-square foot homes that cost only $20,000. For the first time in the program's 20-year history, they're putting the $20k house on the larger market. From a FastCo.exist profile:
Rural Studio started making the 20K house in 2005, keeping in mind the assumption that $20,000 was the total cost of housing someone living on Social Security could afford to pay in monthly mortgage installments. Since then, students have built 12 houses for their rural neighbors, with each design building off the knowledge and real-world experience of the last. [...]
"We see the 20K house as a moral obligation," says Rural Studio director Andrew Freear, adding that free student labor and an unmatchable learning opportunity had created what was essentially a cheap, custom-tailored design service for Hale County.
Poverty in the South is a lasting problem. There are few solutions, though cheaper housing like this could be one.