Tiny Homes are a First—but not Last—Step in Ending Homelessness

Cities are trying to stretch affordable housing funds to meet the demand for both short- and long-term housing.

1 minute read

October 22, 2023, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Multicolored tiny homes for temporary shelter in complex adjacent to freeway overpass in Los Angeles, California.

A Pallet Shelter tiny home village in Los Angeles, California. | Pallet Shelter / Tiny home village, Los Angeles

An article by Jeanne Kuang in CALmatters argues that, despite concerns about their effectiveness, ‘tiny homes’ are likely to remain an important part of California’s efforts to eliminate homelessness.

‘Tiny home villages,’ as the projects are known, “aim to fill the steps between traditional, congregate homeless shelters — think ‘room full of bunk beds and cubicles’ — and an apartment of one’s own.”

Also known as modular homes or ‘emergency interim housing,’ these prefabricated structures can offer a stepping stone to long-term housing. San Jose city officials say the city’s unsheltered population has declined by 10 percent after the city opened six tiny home sites, and “of the 1,500 people the city has sheltered in its tiny home sites, 48% moved to permanent housing.”

While tiny home villages may offer a lifesaving stopgap, advocates warn that ending homelessness will require a larger effort to address the root causes of high housing costs and the lack of affordable housing. The article notes other conflicts arising as tiny homes become a more permanent fixture, such as their legal status and whether tenants should be charged rent.

Thursday, October 19, 2023 in CALmatters

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