Timeline of Elder Cottage History

The concept of keeping multiple generations of family on the same property isn’t new. Elder Cottages, granny flats, ECHO Housing, granny pods – no matter what name you call them have essentially the same purpose; to keep a family member safe, ease the providing of care for the family, and to keep the family member nearby.

Circa 1650 – Dowager House

English, Scottish, or Welsh custom that upon the death of the male estate owner, to place his widow into a rather large home in the rear of the estate. This allowed her to live on the property while her husband’s heir moved their family into the main estate house.

1975 – Granny Flat

Australia introduces a Granny Flat Program run by the government to build panelized homes and place them on a foundation for pensioners or low-income older adults.

Late 1970’s – Accessory Dwelling Unit

The Accessory Dwelling Unit appears in U.S. building codes. These homes are meant to help create housing in locations were limited housing is available and insure that poorly built housing is eliminated.

1981 – AARP

AARP holds first conference on the concept of Granny Flats in the U.S. in association with the National Retired Teachers Association.

1983 – ECHO Housing

Australian concept is imported to U.S. and Elder Care Housing Opportunity (ECHO) term is born.

1990 – Granny Flat

Program in Australia reaches placement of 3,000 homes.

1991– Garden Suites

Canada introduces a program to promote cottages for use by the elderly.

1993 – HUD ECHO Housing Demonstration

HUD program produced and distributed a limited amount of housing units to a number of states to introduce the concept in the U.S.

Circa 2005 – Granny PODS

A number of local providers and builders start to create unique and custom products to meet niche needs. These are typically standalone modules built in a modular or manufactured home factory.

2010 - Dower House

PBS Series Downton Abbey becomes a hit and Violet’s Dower House Cottage becomes known to millions.

2015 – Better Living Express

The concept to provide housing support to seniors and the disabled and allow them to stay with a family member is expanded to additions. Both cottages and additions (or suites), are offered to help families help their family members.

Family Alternative Care Solutions (FACS) Housing

In the U.S. these units are known more formally as auxiliary dwelling units, or accessory dwelling units (ADU) in local building codes. While granny pods or granny flats are still commonly used terms, Better Living Express has introduced Family Alternative Care Solutions (FACS) housing.

We have taken this concept to the next step in its evolutionary path by providing both cottages and additions that meet the needs of the occupant and combine it with strong, safe modular building techniques to deliver move in ready space quickly.

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