California Pledges to Provide 1,200 ‘Tiny Homes’ for Unhoused Residents

Critics of the plan say the effort is a drop in the bucket in a state where tens of thousands of people experience homelessness every night.

2 minute read

March 21, 2023, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Chandler Tiny Home Village in North Hollywood, California

A resident checks in to the Chandler Tiny Home Village in North Hollywood, California. | Chandler Tiny Home Village in North Hollywood, California

“Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday his administration will provide 1,200 tiny homes to cities and counties around California in an effort to shelter unhoused people in the state, which has the highest rate of homelessness in the nation,” according to an article by Chris Nichols and Nicole Nixon for Cap Radio.

The quick-build shelters are viewed as a cost-effective temporary housing solution and have been adopted by some cities as one way to reduce the number of encampments on public property and connect unhoused residents with resources. “The governor said the tiny homes will cost approximately $30 million and would be set up ‘within months, not years,’ estimating they could be open by this fall.” But the authors point out that some ‘tiny home village’ projects in the state have seen delays and cost overruns.

Critics of the plan say it’s only a band-aid for a much larger problem, stemming in part from a lack of clarity about the responsibilities of state and local agencies. “How can local governments address growing homeless camps on state property, such as along freeways, when it’s not their jurisdiction? How can a city provide mental health or addiction treatment services when only county governments are funded to do so?”

To help agencies at different levels coordinate their efforts, “On Thursday morning, the California Association of Counties, CSAC, unveiled its AT HOME plan with the goal of defining those roles for all levels of government.” The plan, which would require state approval to become law, calls on local and state agencies to collaborate on clear definitions of their roles and jurisdictions.

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