In late August, the San Jose City Council approved a one-year pilot program, after over a year of debate, to build up to three “tiny home” villages for the homeless. However, there has been no consensus as to where the unconventional homeless housing will be placed. City leaders on Monday unveiled two designs for the 80-to-140 square-feet sleeping cabins, which is one of San Jose’s ideas for housing the city’s 4,000 homeless. A state law by former Assemblywoman Nora Campos last year eased building codes to allow San Jose to construct the unconventional tiny homes. Jennifer Loving, who leads the nonprofit Destination: Home, states,
Sleeping in a tent outside is not the best we can do. We have to start somewhere and a home, even temporary, is better than a tent on the ground.
In Oakland, city leaders on Monday started moving homeless people into shelters that resemble a “Tuff Shed.” City leaders in San Jose are recommending the “tiny home” sites be at least 1,320 feet away from schools and 530 feet away from residential homes and that there be no more than one tiny home community per City Council district, which is more stringent than medical pot shops. However, some residents have complained that putting the homeless next to them would increase crime and reduce property values, which is why it has been difficult deciding where to put the shelters. Habitat for Humanity was chosen to build the tiny homes and HomeFirst, a nonprofit that runs shelters and warming centers around the county, will operate the villages. Hopefully a more permanent solution to the housing issue will be created, but the “tiny home” villages will at least provide some sort of shelter for the homeless.