Built and designed over the past few years a new community of tiny homes in San Jose, California, is a community based pilot made of forty 8 by 10 foot tiny homes that will provide housing to residents who are making the move from being homeless
Called the Mabury Bridge Housing Project, the cluster of tiny homes is located on an unused piece of land owned by the San Jose area Valley Transit Authority. This project is one of two tiny house communities planned for San Jose which is Calfornia third largest. The second group of homes, also located on land owned by government agencies is slated to be opened later in 2020.
Interesting a similar small housing community in Toronto was talked about at the foot of Parliament St when there was an unauthorized settlement of tents and buildings. The land was owned by Home Depot at that point and they moved the homeless out of the area before a movement was created to build something like the San Jose community in Toronto.
San Jose, which is situated in the very affluent Santa Clara County which is the heart of Silicon Valley, has a large homeless problem. Unlike Toronto the weather does allow people to leave almost year round outside and data from January 2019 shows over 6,000 people were living on the streets, in shelters or sleeping in their cars according to San Jose Department of Housing and Urban Development census.
Habitat for Humanity volunteers helped build the homes at a cost of $6,500 each. San Jose city officials call the homes emergency sleeping cabins. San Jose officials say the homes, which measure 80-square-feet. Two of the 80 were built slightly bigger to help some residents who have mobility issues. Each home is designed to house one person in a living space that is equipped with a/c units since the homes will be used in the summer and heating systems for the winter months, a twin bed, desk, and shelving. Other things that you might find in an apartment like laundry, and storage facilities are located in the community a larger shared spaces which also has a communal washer and dryers. The shared spaces also include kitchens along with communal space for socializing and stretching out. A community garden and resource center equipped with computers and job boards are part of the community design. The community includes on-site parking, staff offices, and around-the-clock security, has a fence to help protect outsiders from entering the area.
The San Jose-based nonprofit called Homefirst which is dedicated to lifting people out of homelessness operates community and helps residents with things like healthcare assistance and career training.
People who move to the Maburry Bridge Housing Project are limited to sixty days in the housing as residents cwork towards to being more independent with the long term target of moving another permanent housing solution which would not be located in the project. The local newspaper explained, the community located near Maburry Rd close to the Bayshore Freeway and with-in walking distance of the new BART station in the northeast part of downtown San Jose, “provides a mix of stable housing and compassion for San Jose residents trying to stay afloat in spite of the region’s extreme shortage of affordable housing.
The newspaper explained that officials aim to house roughly one hundred and twenty permanent housing-seeking residents each year, rotating 40 people out every four months. They would move into permanent housing after their stay in the community. Two residents have already moved to permanent housing since the community first opened.
Although the project had 40 cabins when it first opened only eight were used because residents had to first pass a series of background checks.
The project cost close to two million USD, which includes the 40 HFH-built cabins, proper site development, and building of the community’s various support structures.
The state has said that it is looking to build more projects like this one with the right partners and grow the projects scale. In Toronto something similar could work although the winter weather might provide a more difficult challenge in winter months.