California’s Tiny Home Pledge Still on Paper, One Year Later

A promise to fund 1,200 tiny homes for unhoused residents in four cities as a way to rapidly and cost-effectively provide shelter has yet to yield tangible results, but projects are moving ahead in some cities.

1 minute read

May 24, 2024, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing funding for tiny home shelter project in front of quick-build tiny home shelter unit.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing funding for a state tiny home shelter project in front of quick-build shelter unit in 2023. | Office of Governor Gavin Newsom / Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

Despite a promise from California Governor Gavin Newsom to distribute 1,200 ‘tiny homes’ for unhoused people a year ago, none of the units have yet materialized, reports Marisa Kendall in CALmatters. According to Kendall, only 150 units have been ordered.

There have been multiple delays and about-faces, over everything from the way the state is funding the units to the ability of local cities and counties to find places to put them. The state has suggested the delays are the fault of local governments. But tiny homes have failed to materialize even when local leaders moved quickly to approve a project site.

The governor’s original plan called for delivering 500 tiny homes to Los Angeles, 350 to Sacramento, 200 to San Jose, and 150 to San Diego County. Then, the state decided to send the city cash grants instead, leaving cities with a funding gap. In San Jose, the city will cover the difference to proceed with opening its tiny home project in 2025. In other cities, sites haven’t yet been selected.

The six tiny home manufacturers selected by the state expressed surprise they haven’t received many orders. “Several said they had to design new products specifically to meet the state’s strict requirements for everything from vapor-resistant light fixtures to emergency exit lighting.”

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