Desperate Times Call for Innovative Measures
San Diego County and City are in a state of emergency for both emergency shelter and affordable housing. In 2016, San Diego had the unenviable distinction of having the 4th highest number of homeless people in the nation – more than Las Vegas, Washington DC, Chicago and San Francisco. We are seeing the consequences of decades of mismanagement and ignoring the demand for truly affordable housing. Amikas is poised to offer solutions to this crisis by building highly efficient tiny shelters and homes using the I-Wood building system. However, while tiny home villages and shelter communities are being developed in other areas of the country to create immediate housing for homeless people, in California we have hit a brick wall - there are no building codes that apply to tiny homes. The process to change this will take years, and meanwhile thousands of families and individuals who have fallen on hard times have to place to go.
We offer solutions for both emergency and affordable housing that can be implemented in parallel.
The San Jose Solution for Emergency Housing
San Jose took bold action to address the homeless crisis. San Jose Assemblywoman Nora Campos, authored a bill (AB 2176) that is a real game-changer for San Jose’s emergency shelter crisis. The bill passed and became effective January 1, 2017. It created new Government Code §8698.3. This new statute is an amendment to the existing Shelter Crisis Act of 1987. (Government Code sections 8698 – 8698.2) authorizing “emergency bridge housing communities” during a declared shelter crisis (Read more)
Tiny House Pocket Villages for Affordable Housing
The emergency hosing solution will allow us to quickly get the most vulnerable un-sheltered people into safe housing while we create the affordable permanent housing they need. Tiny homes can fill that need for many individuals and small families, but the legal process of adding tiny homes to California building codes could take years. Tiny house villages are being created throughout the country as an efficient way to create truly affordable housing. We have prepared a proposal for tiny home pocket communities in San Diego using the I-Wood building system. It is important that these very affordable units are included in California building codes and ordinances, so tiny homes can be used for housing very low income individuals and not just as a novelty for higher income individuals, or as in the case of accessory dwellings, as a way to generate income for home owners without any requirements to keep these units affordable. (Read more)
A great resource for us has been the book Tent City Urbanism: From Self-organized Camps to Tiny House Villages. Don't let the title mislead you - this book offers a through study of many variations of communities specifically designed for people who were experiencing homelessness. We've just ordered another 10 because we give them to every legislator we talk to about creating Emergency Bridge Housing Communities. Order your own copy here: http://www.tentcityurbanism.com/