Lilypad Homes was created for many reasons: to provide much-needed housing, to make homeownership more affordable, to house loved ones, caregivers and people who work in the community, and to create resilient, self-sufficient communities capable of housing critical service providers. While all of these are true and vital reasons they do not actually explain how Lilypad Homes got its start.
The idea for Lilypad germinated in 2000 when Rachel Ginis, the organization’s founder, became a single parent. As a residential designer, she did not earn enough money to remain in her home in Marin County. Rachel determined to temporarily repurpose the master bedroom into a lovely little living space. The income from that 230 square foot efficiency apartment allowed her to hold onto her home, keeping her daughter in school just down the road from her father’s house.
Because Rachel’s daughter was four years old at the time, she did not feel that taking on a roommate was a viable option; she needed to secure their privacy. She also needed to ensure she could meet the monthly mortgage. Privatizing a bedroom was a sensible solution and created a reliable income stream from a little-used room.
Rachel created Lilypad to empower other women going through transitions to hold on to their homes, since women are often left with the house after a divorce or death in the family. And because they make less money on average than men, they are often not in a position to cover the costs of homeownership on their own. She recognizes, of course, that this housing strategy is an opportunity for everyone.