After years of delays, borderline prohibitive cost estimates and fierce backlash from residents worried about property values, San Jose expects to have 80 tiny sleeping cabins built by summertime to house homeless people until they find a long-term place to stay.
The proposal seems to have considerably more public support compared to its initial rollout last year. And instead of running up a tab of more than $18,000 a cabin, the Gensler-designed models will cost the city about $6,500 apiece.
A look inside a #SanJose #TinyHome aka #EmergencySleepingCabin which are about 70 square feet. SJ considering building on two sites of 40 units each as temporary #housing for #homeless. pic.twitter.com/jUnGHPiQS4
— Robert Handa (@RHandaNBC) December 10, 2018
“These communities are where innovation meets compassion, and offer us another tool to get more San Joseans off the streets, our of creeks and into housing,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said Monday as officials unveiled a prototype of the so-called “tiny homes.”
A beige-and-white model of the 80-square-foot cabins, some of which will have up to 120 square feet of space, will be on display through Wednesday outside City Hall. The one on unveiled for public viewing this week features a twin bed over drawers opposite a bench. It also has windows, a light, a smoke detector, lockable door and a power outlet.
In a memo to the City Council, San Jose Housing Director Jacky Morales-Ferrand recommends putting 40 such cabins on Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority land off of Mabury Road and another 40 on a Caltrans site at interstates 680 and 101.
District 4 Councilman Lan Diep, who represents the northern part of the city where the tiny homes are slated to go, invited the public to join him on Thursday for a community meeting about the so-called “bridge housing.”
The City unveiled a prototype of our tiny homes for the homeless today! You can come check it out yourself at City Hall today through Wed, Dec 12th from 9a-5p.
Then on Thurs, Dec 13th, my office will hold a community mtg abt tiny homes at 6p at the Berryessa Community Center. pic.twitter.com/S4zvGOrGzZ
— Councilor Lan Diep (@SanJoseD4) December 10, 2018
The proposal, which would house up to 320 people, comes up for council approval on Dec. 18. If approved, the city would run the pilot program through 2022, when the state law authorizing the homes is set to expire.
To incentivize tiny home dwellers to find permanent housing within six months, the city will charge them rent equivalent to about 10 percent of their income or $20 if they have no job. After six months, the rent would tick up by 10 percent every six months to a max increase of 30 percent.
The city anticipates spending $30,000 to lease both tiny homes sites through 2022. Development and construction costs will amount to roughly $4.3 million. HomeFirst, the nonprofit manager of the project, will get $1.3 million to prepare homeless people for move-in, and another $1.3 million to run the two sites.
Donations are encouraged to offset costs of the project, and volunteers are needed to help build the cabins. For more information about how to lend a hand, click here.
Unveiling the @CityofSanJose Bridge Housing prototype today. This effort will hopefully provide 80 tiny homes for homeless men and women once Council approves the locations. Thanks to @sjcityhousing @HomeFirstSCC & @HabitatEBSV for your leadership! pic.twitter.com/YcEj4pKFUb
— Destination: Home (@DSTNHome) December 10, 2018