“Tiny Home Initiative” to launch in Santa Clara County as means to combat the housing crisis

By Jordan Colbert, SPORTS EDITOR

For many San Francisco Bay Area residents, luxuries such as warmth and shelter are taken for granted, but for many families nesting in the heart of Silicon Valley, it doesn’t come quite as easy. Santa Clara County aims to combat homelessness through its “Tiny Home Initiative,” rolling out throughout the first half of 2021 with providing 100 square foot tiny homes to families, helping them to get back on their feet.

Homelessness in the Bay Area has been a pressing issue for decades, with numbers growing exponentially every year. Lack of stable work due to the pandemic has further exacerbated the housing crisis. 

Each tiny home will come stocked with four foldable bunks that can also double as tables, shelving, a space heater for San Jose’s colder nights, as well as an air conditioning unit.

These homes can accommodate families of up to four with electricity supplied via onsite solar panels in addition to multiple staff offices, bathroom trailers, and an activity center where children in the community can participate in social activities with their peers.

Multiple Bay Area-based non-profits are teaming up to facilitate the site’s day-to-day operations, consisting of organizations such as Amigos de Guadalupe, who will be overseeing case managers and property management. Project WeHope, a Palo Alto-based food pantry, will be servicing the community’s toilet, showers, and on-site laundry.

One emphasis of the county’s tiny home project is to combat the Bay Area’s Covid-19 outbreaks. County officials believe that it will be easier to control the spread of the virus among homeless residents by providing spaces such as these to cut back on the constant need for travel.

This initiative is one of the first in the Bay Area to roll out as part of the county’s multi-year plan to end homelessness, which aims to house 20,000+ homeless Bay Area residents by 2025.

While San Jose and the greater Bay Area are seemingly at an impasse regarding a solution to the problem, the “Tiny Home Initiative” is a step in the right direction. Especially when concern for health and safety in the midst of a pandemic is at an all-time high, many families view this step as a saving grace for their families.

While the tiny home structures do not qualify as permanent dwellings and families will be cycled out intermittently, the goal is for individuals to use the onsite resources such as casework counseling to help them transition into more permanent housing arrangements.

Families looking to apply for a San Jose tiny home can apply via the Santa Clara County’s shelter hotline: 408-926-8885. Those who apply are placed in a queue and assigned an onsite caseworker to keep individuals updated on their que number as well as help to make arrangements in the meantime.