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Manitoba couple lands big, mini-home contract

Russell Hixson
Manitoba couple lands big, mini-home contract

Anita Munn and her husband Darrell Manuliak are showing that a tiny company making tiny homes can make a huge difference. "We see what the housing crisis is," said Munn. "We just felt that we needed to do something."

Mini Homes of Manitoba was started in September 2015 when the pair worked with First Nations activist group Idle No More to help build a home in Big River, Sask. Previously, the residents had been living in a makeshift cave dug in the ground. The tiny home was built in 30 days.

The couple now works on building small, affordable homes that start at $40,000, though prices can depend on how many customizations the client wants. They all come standard with spray foam insulation, radiant floor heat, infrared panels and the Haven Fire Suppression System.

Since 2015, they have built nine mini homes and are starting on number 10. They work with each client to design their custom mini home.

Manuliak, who grew up in remote Northern Manitoba, has 20 years of experience in construction, getting his start building skateboard ramps for the community. He’s since built float houses and done many renovation projects.

Munn said she grew up in a home where her mom always had more tools than her dad and there was always something to build or fix.

"I just always liked being able to work with my hands," she said.

So far, the company has been essentially Munn, her husband and daughter building the homes from scratch. But that is all changing.

The couple is packing up and moving to Long Plain, located 95 kilometres west of Winnipeg, for six months to work with the Long Plain First Nation. The lack of affordable housing in the community was exacerbated last summer when a tornado damaged dozens of homes.

Mini Homes has been hired to build 12 small, affordable homes. The project will be staged in the community’s hockey arena and it is the largest of its kind in the province.

The finished homes will include a small kitchen, living area, washroom and bedroom, measure about 11-metres-long-by-seven-metres-wide and will cost the First Nation less than $100,000 each.

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