San Jose Opens Tiny Home Community To Battle Homelessness

Published on March 14, 2020

In attempt to help the homelessness crisis in California, the city of San Jose has opened a community of tiny homes. The community will temporarily provide 40 tiny homes for those transitioning out of homelessness. 

The Bridge Housing Community teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to build each home. While the city works to find a more permanent solution, each un-housed person is limited to a 60 day stay until their relocation. At $6,500 per home, each is 80 square-feet, with two larger ones at 120 square-feet with ramp access to accommodate those with disabilities. The residents will pay rent of $20 dollars a month to stay in the homes. The cost is more about helping residents prepare for a regular bill when they find permanent housing. 

What’s inside each tiny home?

Every home has a twin bed, heating and air conditioning, shelving, and a small desk. Outside of the individual units there is a kitchen, shared bathrooms, laundry services, and a community garden. The community includes around-the-clock security and a fence to help control foot traffic in and out of the site. A resource center is available with job listings and computers to help them get on their feet. 

Governor Gavin Newsom says addressing homelessness needs to be a top priority. “I’m in for the long haul. We own this. We’re not pointing fingers anymore. We own this.” He says this community is just the beginning. “The work that was done here can quickly be replicated at half the time elsewhere, so I could not be more enthusiastic about where we’re going to be in two or three years.” 

Newsom states that it’s essential for the community and the government to work together be able to build homes and communities like these. “There’s no way we can resolve this unless we are working collaboratively together at every level of government.” 

How long are tenants permitted to stay?

While a 60 day stay is the goal, residents can be granted extensions as they work towards independence. Residents work on-site with staff to help them achieve their goal. The Mercury News stated that officials ideally aim to house around 120 residents who are actively transitioning out of homelessness each year. Officials aim to have 40 people rotating out every couple of months. Since opening, San Jose Inside says two residents have already moved on to permanent housing. 

“It’s a question of scale. It’s a question of capacity. It’s a question of resolve, and so I just want you to know that we are resolved to scale programs like this,” Newsom addressed at the opening of the community. “The state vision to solve this crisis will be realized at the local level project by project.”

Caroline Larsen is a Social Media Intern at Grit Daily, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a journalism student.

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