NIMBY Backlash Over ‘Tiny Homes’ Prompts City to Reduce Number of Potential Sites

NIMBYs have come out in full force to oppose one of San Jose’s most inventive solutions for homelessness. At a series of recent neighborhood meetings, residents trotted out all manner of excuses to bar “tiny homes” from going up in their respective council districts.

They’ll incentivize poverty and drive down property values, homeowners lamented. They’ll create ghettos, others echoed. They’ll attract perverts and pickpockets, crowed worrywarts who wear cargo pants as a defense mechanism.

But at a packed Monday night meeting in Councilman Sergio Jimenez’s district, which covers the city’s southeast corridor, things truly went off the rails. One woman groused about homeless people scaring away elks and owls, while another suggested herding the homeless back into “The Jungle,” the notorious encampment the city dismantled in 2014.

That same evening, a man warned that tiny homes would prompt homeless to get on their “Obama-phones” and lure fellow houseless folk to San Jose.

The vitriol then devolved into chants of “build a wall,” which Jimenez promptly called out as Trumpian divisiveness. With so many of the concerns veering into paranoia and absurdity, it was somewhat surprising to see the city react by shrinking the number of potential tiny home sites from 99 to only three. Jennifer Loving, head of Silicon Valley’s leading homeless housing nonprofit Destination: Home, came away from Monday’s fracas feeling more than a little dismayed.

“It was really tough,” she told Fly. “I’ve been doing this work for 20 years and this is a level of anger that I have not seen before. This is heartbreaking.”

The residents’ reaction made her think of how she and other advocates for the homeless could change their message to communicate the importance of building these kinds of shelters. “I believe homelessness is one of the most important civil rights issues in the Silicon Valley,” Loving said. “Obviously, we need to do a better job teaching people what it means to be homeless and how people become homeless.”

Source: City of San Jose

Source: City of San Jose

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  1. Mr. Fly:

    Doesn’t anyone down there at SJI ever pay attention?

    The “Homeless Census is totally bogus. I said so myself:


    Here’s all you need to know from the “Homeless Survey”:
    > The 2017 Planning Committee worked towards several important project goals
    >  To preserve current federal funding for homeless services and to enhance the ability to raise new funds;

    In other words, it was “goal-seeking” (get more money) and it was completely “unscientific”. It is a textbook example of “confirmation bias”.

    • take your head out of your screen and down to st james park and then tell us all about how sj doesn’t have a problem with unsheltered homeless

      • > take your head out of your screen and down to st james park and then tell us all about how sj doesn’t have a problem with unsheltered homeless

        How is it “San Jose’s problem”? It’s only a problem because San Francisco, Hillsborough, Palo Alto, Berkeley, Tiburon, Newport Beach, Saratoga and and Hollywood don’t do enough for the “unsheltered homeless”.

        They need to step up to THEIR problem.

        • what the hell do those other citys have to do with SJ homeless? they all have homeless people of there own. Do you ever wonder why? or how some people end up homeless or living in there cars? or bounce from couch to couch? No one wants to be homeless but, you know sometimes “SHIT JUST HAPPENS” you don’t have to pull your head out of your screen. Pull it out of your empty cold heart and look outside of the box. Or go help out at a shelter and see what is really going on. You voted for trump, didn’t you?

          • > No one wants to be homeless

            The great, ignorant presumption of progressives.

            Many, many people on planet earth live itinerant, nomadic existences and are perfectly adjusted to that lifestyle.

            It is the weird, self-centered narcissism of progressives that says that everyone has to prefer the housing arrangements that progressives prefer for themselves.

  2. Don’t waste money on temporary fixes: Barbara Poppe, who coordinated federal homelessness policy for most of Barack Obama’s presidency, advised against funding tiny houses, arguing the money would be better spent constructing permanent affordable housing.

  3. Amazing how many closet conservatives there are right here in river city, all we needed to do to find them is threaten there home values and children with thousands of alcoholic’s, chronic drug users, bum’s, sex offenders, mentally disturbed, illegals and maybe a few people down on their luck that have just been fired from GOOGLE for pointing out what is painfully obvious.

    Sticking up tiny houses for the homeless into public parks, although very humorous is not solution, but an invitation. “Don’t feed the bears.” “Build it and they will come, and come and come”. In the meantime you have substandard housing built and operated by people that can’t operate a stickshift much ghetto and all it’s loony problems.

    You want more housing go east, go up, there a thousands of square miles of undeveloped land surrounding SJ, use it!
    By the way I see that area under SJO approach is still avalible.

    • Even the approach is filling up. I used to live right below it. Even though we in south San Jose it still was loud. There is a lot of land to the East. Might make for a good spot.

  4. We could help more people by spending the money on the 100 existing homeless programs in San Jose. And, the city can’t afford another expensive program because, according to Mayor Liccardo, the city expects to see tens of millions of dollars in budget deficits in the coming few years.” (see SJI article on Liccardo rejecting affordable housing for Teachers)

      • Maybe we should put our teacher in little tiny house’s at school location and they could walk to work. Get first hand look at socialist society. I’m feeling warm and fuzzy all ready! To each according to his needs.

    • > How about building homes for people that make $25-$40,000 a year and can barely rent?

      Great idea!

      Let’s build them in San Francisco Pacific Heights, Tiburon, Sausalito, Hillsborough, Saratoga, Newport Beach, and Hollywood.

      If it’s such a good idea to build affordable housing, why not build it some place people want to live rather than in some third rate toxic waste dump for Silicon Valley capitalists like San Jose.

      How is putting up some stack and pack pile of refrigerator boxes and calling it a “transit village” really fostering human dignity?

      The poor deserve to live where Rich Robinson, Sam Liccardo, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Barbra Streisand live.

      The poor are people, too!

  5. I hope Sergio Jimenz learned something from this meeting. White people hate people of color and he might talk like them but he will never be fully accepted as an American. I hope at the Council meeting next week he tells it like it is and does not support the the bridge housing for District 3. It is a shame that the Mercury News did not report what happened at the meeting. This does not surprise me because whenever I call the Mercury asking they report conditions in my neighborhood they never return my calls. Sergio should of stopped the meeting and advised them they were not at a Trump rally but at a council community meeting. He should of excused himself and resigned from council. Why would anyone want to represent these ignorant people.

    • People of color? What color are you, Ms. Sanchez? Your surname is Spanish and Spaniards are white. Do you hate people of color, do you identify as something other than white? Do you have Native American blood in addition to Spanish? If so, why do you favor one over the other? Do you consider your Native American ancestors to have been superior to your white ancestors? Would holding such a belief make you a racist? Are you self-hating, merely confused, or just dumb?

    • Everyone is a nice liberal until its thier property value is at stake, then the true colors come out. If Councilman Jimenez can’t take a little heat from constituents, he should resign, but I think he will be fine, though. These little houses don’t and won’t work. VASH HUD worked as it got vets moved in here and there around town but not in one place, they need to expand that type of program for the functional homeless, as they will be living in the same building as families and such. The real complicated cases need dedicated housing away from schools and single family homes or the nimbys will come out. This would go better if the city council made peace with the landlords instead of trying to destroy them, then they would open up to more homeless housing programs. But Jimenez, Peralez, and the rest of the fellow travelers on the council seem too shortsighted for that.

    • “White people hate people of color…” I find it amusing, sad, and hypocritical when people use language like this. I am sure if someone asked Ms. Sanchez if she is a racist, she would deny it vehemently, believing herself to be a poster child of multicultural virtue and, all the while, failing to see how making a blanket assertion alike this bout a huge swath of people from an astonishing variety of backgrounds and walks of life is, itself, a fundamentally racist and bigoted statement.

    • Hmmm…Sergio was preceded by Ash Kalra, beloved by everyone in my neighborhood & he has a bit of color going on. Sergio has big shoes to fill, & hasn’t been nearly as visible. I live along Coyote Creek, adjacent to 2 of the proposed sites & we have homeless issues – for some reason they are drawn to creeks. As are people who illegally dump so residents spend a lot of time picking up trash. Our Nextdoor group has constant stories of scary people on the other side of a sound wall threatening them, their family, their pets, tossing trash into the yard & making noise all night. The homes near the proposed sites know these tales & I’m sure it scares the hell out of them. Additionally, there were supposed to be many more sites but somehow 2 of the remaining sites are in our district. Hardly seems fair. We’re generally family neighborhoods which still adjusting to high density on Cottle. Not sure how germane it is, but from our ND chatter we’re in Trump-ville too so chants of wall-building don’t surprise me & education how people become homeless as a communication tool – yeah, try that at a t-rally & see what gets communicated.

  6. The city of San Francisco (NOT including any state or federal monies) spends over $3300 per MONTH per homeless person in San Francisco. (All of this data is easily verifiable, just do a web search.) And yet the problem is getting worse. Why? Where does the money go? How is San Jose any different? Follow the money. It is all about those precious federal tax dollars: Read the report.

  7. Says Jennifer Loving:

    ““I’ve been doing this work for 20 years and this is a level of anger that I have not seen before.”

    Really? Where has Jennifer been getting her news for the last 20 years?

  8. Time to condemn those damn NIMBY’s again, with their “excuses to bar,” worries about dreadful consequences, and seemingly endless prejudices.

    Really, isn’t it inexcusable how NIMBY’s Ed Lee and Board of Supervisors President London Breed have reacted to Patriot Prayer’s planned rally?

    Oh, I’m sorry, did you assume the NIMBY’s in question were those decent, taxpaying San Jose residents who object to the city housing bums in their neighborhoods? What kind of prejudices would make you think that when the NIMBY’s in San Francisco are public servants raining down condemnation and hate on a group of citizens asking for nothing other than the free speech opportunities guaranteed in the Constitution?

  9. I love the articles, but please make it an option to hide the comments section. EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE has some vitriolic vomit from the same three idiots, and it’s creating the false impression that their point of view is a majority or even significant. Or ban them. But please please please, I don’t want to have to be exposed to the same trump supporter moronic point of view every single time I read one of your articles.

    • Yet another call from the Left to stifle free speech.
      There IS another option to solving your “problem” though LJW and I challenge you and all the other comment Nazis to put on your thinking caps and try to figure out what it could possibly be.

    • Why don’t you liberal idiots take some of your own advice once in a while. If you object to something, “Just change the channel”, it works with this comment section as well!

    • LJW you just reinforced the stereotype of the “whacky liberals” Ban and condemn any view that is not your own. Welcome to the USSR

  10. One of the proposed sites is just down the street from me. About a block. This will certainly plummet the home values in our neighborhood. My concern is not just about home values. Tiny homes or not, the homeless will turn their newly built sites into a cesspool of filth. Don’t even attempt to think they will keep up their homes in a tidy fashion. I can just see the accumulated garbage and the bags and the rags strewn all about their little areas. Imagine all of the crime and drug use that will accumulate in those areas and the fact that it will attract others and basically turn into a camp. I say build them a block away from Jennifer Loving’s house and see how she will like it. These little tiny homeless neighborhoods will bring all kinds of problems to nice neighborhoods. This was a bad, bad idea. I hope none of those three locations is the one next to me and I really do not care if any of you think ill of me for saying it. Let them live next to you and see how YOU like it. If they want to build them a tiny little neighborhood…keep it away from other neighborhoods. I didn’t purchase my home to have to be subjected to this change in my area.

  11. The pseudonyms these trolls use are the electronic equivalent of KKK hoods. Make these cowards fly under their real names and maybe they’ll crawl out of the barn into the weeds to die.

    • It must be hell to belong to a mob whose only weapon is totalitarian vilification and be denied the identities of the exasperatingly superior opposition.

      Don’t despair, you lightweights can always recycle David Duke.

    • It must be comforting knowing your political opponents are not the vindictive type who have demonstrated they will personally torment, harass, and vandalize the properties of those with whom they disagree. No. Those tactics are reserved by the Left to intimidate their political opposition. And you know what? They work.
      Maybe someday we will have made enough progress that John Galt will feel it’s safe to speak his mind using his real name. Knowing the state of public education though and the corrosive effect it has on our young people’s minds I don’t hold out much hope for any change soon.

  12. Here I was, riding along in a horsedrawn carriage, shooting the breeze on the topic of the day which happened to be Tiny Houses, when suddenly this creature calling itself “Michael Hurley” appeared from under a bridge and insulted me. Before I had a chance to reply it retreated back under the bridge. I felt sorry for it so I ordered the coachman to stop. Now I’m waiting for this creature who appeared, uttered some insults, then disappeared, realizes that it’s safe to come back out from under his bridge. There’s nothing up here that can actually harm him. Only words, ideas, and opinions.

    • Come on up little fella. Nobody’s gonna hurt you.
      There there. It’s ok. I’ll wait. No rush. Whenever you’re ready.

  13. Why aren’t the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds being used? It could easily accommodate cars, recreational vehicles AND Tiny homes

    • Make them part of the fair and you’d inject fun and weirdness in both the 4H competition and the cork gun games.

    • Are you smoking crack???? Have you not gone outside and looked at the thousands of tents popping up in neighborhoods. Yes neighborhoods. They dont even hide in the freeway vegetation anymore. Down 48& Laughable. Are you a Sliccardo shill her to promote and toot his horn?

  14. At the LPNA meeting I asked the question how many homeless were from our area, specifically San Jose in like terms. The rumor mill has been spread to say homeless come from all over the area, police from nearby cities take homeless to San Jose and dump them the attraction of free stuff in San Jose makes it a mecca for people miles around.

    The answer I got from Jennifer Loving surprised me, 86 percent come from San Jose and the rest lived here for a long time before becoming homeless. Well, that makes a world of difference, if removed to remote location, likely these of our homeless will return here because it’s considered home. My original thinking on this was correct, people were priced out of the market due to market conditions and their only choice is homelessness.

    I know of one engineer who owns a home in the central valley but lives in San Jose during the week. He goes home on the weekends to his lovely home. He was living in the Jungle until it was broken up and now sleeps in his car on the streets. He maintains himself, doesn’t leave a mess and is not a addict. He just can’t afford it here and the drive here was horrendous. He has a gym membership to a franchise establishment and cleans up every day, then goes off to work during the workday. He says he is in the minority of the homeless people. Most people lost their homes he said. He did say he met a lot of nice people who looked after each other that were living in the Jungle. Now he fends for himself.

    4300 homeless in San Jose was the number we were told as of this last counting. This like an army brigade size without the strict obedience training. How are a few bridge housing going to solve this problem? Are there nearby unused military bases?

  15. I’ve been homeless, but I was able to couch surf until I found a job and roommates to share an apartment. I don’t think a lot of the folks I see living outside are capable of that. We need to put more funding into mental health services first.

    For the homeless who are capable of earning a living, but not enough to rent here, that’s simple: go where it’s cheaper.

    As for the tiny-house idea, I know where to try them: in the backyards of the county supervisors or city council people who voted for them.

  16. My fellow Nimbys Let us each make a sign and put it in the center of our BACK YARDS.

    In Mexican, Vietnamese and Ingsoc our signs shall say “San Francisco pays $3300.00 in cash and services for each hoomeless person. Double if your also undocumented..

    They do this because the think they attract tourism $.

    • > In Mexican? they speak, “SPANISH!”

      Dear M D:

      Thanks for pointing this out.

      “My fellow Nimbys Let us each make a sign and put it in the center of our BACK YARDS.
      In SPANISH, Vietnamese and Ingsoc our signs shall say . . . ”

      There. I fixed it for K.

      If you see any other corrections that are needed, just let us know.

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