We are pleased to present here a proposal for a pilot program for a tiny home pocket community in the City of San Diego to serve as a prototype for a city-wide program of safe and affordable housing that can be constructed quickly throughout the city.
Recent horrific attacks on our homeless population call attention to the need for safe housing, particularly for our most vulnerable homeless populations: families, women and the elderly.
One only needs to look at the numbers to see that recurring sweeps are not having the intended results, the number of people living on the streets, particularly in the East Village, continues to swell. We do not have sufficient emergency shelter. According to the HUD-mandated Housing Inventory Count that is part of the annual Point-In-Time Count (PITC), the City of San Diego would need 2,311 additional beds (Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing) to shelter every person in the City who was counted as unsheltered on Jan 29, 2016. Since January, those numbers have exploded, but the number of emergency shelter beds has actually decreased.
Without a safe place to sleep at night, the constant fear, stress, and lack of sleep can cause incapacitating trauma. Women and children can easily fall prey to sexual assault and the terrifying increase in human trafficking in the San Diego region.
A well-planned and managed, thoughtfully-located pocket-community of tiny homes would serve as safe, emergency housing for people currently trying to survive on our streets. It fits perfectly into the Housing First model by prioritizing the autonomy of the inhabitants of the village and removing barriers to housing.
Using the Lego-like I-Wood construction system, in less than two weeks Amikas can set up a tiny home village with 12 residential units, housing up to 24 homeless individuals. At the end of the site lease period (no more than 12 months), we would relocate the units and any residents unable to find permanent housing onto another vacant lot, leaving the previous site in better condition than when we started and ready to be sold or developed. Everything on the site will be mobile. The units will be on large casters that not only lift them from the ground, but also allow them to be easily rolled onto a flatbed truck and moved to another site.
The tiny home village would provide the basics every human being needs – safety, hygiene, privacy, storage – so residents get on with their lives. We would collaborate with existing, funded services to provide case management and assist residents in becoming permanently housed, increasing income, addressing addictions and medical issues and securing employment.
The tiny shelter village is an innovative solution that builds on the creative solutions other communities have tried, with each tiny home village adding their own ingenuity to the design. This is a plan that the people of our city, in every neighborhood, can support because, not only does it offer a significant improvement over the current situation, it is also mobile and designed to remain no more than 12 months in any location. Therefore, it imposes a limited, short-term impact on host neighborhoods, and every community will share the burden equitably, as temporary hosts. When everyone is enthusiastically participating in solving the problem, we will get it solved.
Here is a wonderful video made by ALIVE in San Diego about our tiny home build demonstration. The tiny home part begins at 6:45.
For more information, visit these valuable links:
Tiny is the Next BIG Thing is an overview of the tiny house movement by Daniel Fitzpatrick of the American Tiny House Association:
Tiny House Communities by Tiny House Collaborative is a look at different type of tiny house communities:
Living Tiny Legally Part I by Tiny House Expedition - is an excellent look at the issues of codes and zoning when finding a site for your Tiny House on Wheels (THOW) and Tiny Home Communities.