In a First, San Jose to Build ‘Tiny Homes’ for the Homeless

Chances are you’ve heard something about the ‘tiny home’ movement before. In an era of overdevelopment and largesse, it seeks to offer an alternative housing lifestyle centered on efficiency and sustainability. But could it solve our homelessness problem too? San Jose is about to find out.

The Silicon Valley city will become the first to create tiny houses for the homeless next year. It will do so by sidestepping state building regulations under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last month.

The law, AB 2176, allows the city to suspend state building, safety and health codes for a period of five years in order to construct “unconventional” structures. It was authored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose.

“It was huge for the governor to sign this because it’s outside-the-box and no one else has done it,” said Campos. “Other big cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles will be looking at what we do here. We had to do something because what we were doing wasn’t working.”

Those regulations were the number one barrier to creating creative housing for the indigent, according to the city’s homeless response manager, Ray Bramson, so AB 2176 is a big deal. San Jose will utilize the small structures while it works to build more than 500 new affordable housing apartments over the next five years.

Read more about the plan here.

Image Credit: Flickr User rowdykittens, via (CC BY 2.0)


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