San Jose opens first tiny home community for formerly homeless residents

By Maggie Angst, Bay Area News Group, February 27, 2020

“Walking into San Jose’s first tiny home community for homeless residents is like stepping foot inside a miniature gated neighborhood.

“After making your way past the 10-foot gate surrounding the property, 40 tiny homes — 80-square-feet rectangular structures with just enough room for a single bed, desk, shelf, and air conditioning and heating system — stand in neat rows with gravel paths, lined with potted plants, leading from one home to another.

“The unconventional community built on a Valley Transportation Authority site leased by the city on Mabury Road near Coyote Creek offers a mix of stability and compassion for those trying to stay afloat in spite of the region’s chronic shortage of affordable housing.

“ ‘We hope that this will provide the model for everyone being able to see that we can make this work in a community, and that housing for our homeless neighbors can be a great asset for the surrounding community,’ [San Jose Mayor Sam] Liccardo said during the press conference.

“With a building cost of around $6,500 each, instead of hundreds of thousands for permanent housing, Liccardo and other advocates say the cabins offer an effective, low-cost option to get more people off the streets and on their way to becoming stably housed. The full cost of the project, including developing the site and constructing the additional facility buildings, was more than $2 million.

“In addition to the cabins, the community features shared bathrooms, showers and laundry facilities, a kitchen space, and common areas with computers, internet access, and job boards. The community is protected around the clock by a security guard who sits in a patrol station next to the front gate.

“HomeFirst operates the community [and] provides a wide range of services to residents, healthcare assistance, personal finance advice, and career readiness training.

“In addition to the VTA site, another community of 40 tiny homes is planned for a Caltrans site near Felipe Avenue where Highways 680 and 101 intersect. The VTA location was originally expected to open in June and the Caltrans location in August, but challenges with site and lease negotiations delayed [both].”

Read the full article here.

Related and of interest: A small home and RV village in Austin, Texas, recently added six tiny houses manufactured with 3D printing. Read that story here.