Tiny Home Prototype Unveiled in San Jose

Council to decide on using the structures as housing for homeless in two villages in the city

San Jose on Monday unveiled the so called tiny home prototype that could be used to address the city’s growing homeless problem.

Some critics and neighborhood groups, however, insist the solution is small minded.

The city of San Jose has dubbed the tiny home an "emergency sleeping cabin" that costs about $6,500 to build.

On Monday, San Jose officials gave the public its first look at a 70-square-foot prototype. The housing department is proposing the city put a total of 80 units at two locations.

If approved, Habitat For Humanity would build them, and the nonprofit Home First would operate the villages as transitional housing to more permanent housing.

"It’s going to be insulated, it’s going to have access to electricity and water, and we’re going to have sewage to the site, so they’re going to have bathrooms and showers and a kitchen," said Jacky Moreles-Ferrand, San Jose's housing director.

Mayor Sam Liccardo added: "If we can get this built, and we can demonstrate these two tiny home communities can be successful -- and I know they can -- then we can show the rest of the city and frankly the rest of the region."

But critics, including some people who live near the proposed sites, aren’t convinced.

"The tiny home has no water, no toilet, no shower," neighbor Yih Wu said. "It’s like a jail."

Homeless advocate Shaunn Cartwright added: "We could take the same amount of money and put in housing for a lot of people in a much shorter time. These tiny homes are just a waste of time."

The City Council will decide on Dec. 18 whether or not to build the tiny home villages.

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