Newsom administration makes progress on tiny home promise

Date:

HOMELESSNESS

MARISA KENDALL | CALMATTERS

Nearly a year ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom promised to deploy 1,200 tiny homes to help shelter the state’s growing population of homeless residents. Now, the state has chosen who will build those tiny homes and what they will look like — but there’s still no word on when people will be able to move in.

Newsom unveiled his plans in March to deliver the tiny homes to Los Angeles, San Diego County, San Jose and Sacramento. The state has selected six companies to manufacture the dwellings:

• Pallet: a Washington-based company that makes small, fiberglass cabins specifically designed as temporary shelter for homeless residents. Their dwellings have been used in several California cities, including Oakland, San Jose and Fresno.

• Factory OS: A Vallejo-based company that makes modular units that can be stacked and turned into apartment buildings, or used alone as tiny homes.

• Boss: A Montebello-based tiny home company.

• Irontown Modular: A Utah-based modular construction company.

• AMEG: An El Dorado Hills-based modular home builder.

• Plugin House Company: An Austin, Texas-based modular home company.

The contracts, awarded at the end of October, do not specify how many tiny homes or which tiny home models the state will buy from each vendor, nor how much the state will spend. Even the vendors themselves don’t know many specifics.

“It is not clear to us today which product is going to which city or when,” said Pallet CEO Amy King. “We are on standby and at the ready to serve if we get called upon.”

There are more than 181,000 unhoused residents living in California, according to the state’s most recent estimates. Of those, more than 123,000 people are living in encampments, vehicles, abandoned buildings or other places not meant for habitation.

In recent years, leaders in cities throughout California have leaned heavily on tiny homes as a way to move people out of the state’s many homeless encampments. The small dwellings, which are less expensive and easier to build than traditional housing, are intended to be a temporary respite where unhoused people can live while they wait for a permanent home.

Pallet’s standard 70-square-foot tiny home — a basic cabin with no plumbing — costs $18,900. A 120-square-foot unit with an en suite bathroom is significantly more expensive — $48,500.

The state requires each tiny home be at least 70 square feet for a single person and 120 square feet for two people. They are not required to have en suite bathrooms.

Now that the contracts have been awarded, other cities not included in this state program can use their own funds to purchase the tiny homes without going through a lengthy process of seeking bids from multiple vendors.

Neither the governor’s office nor the state Department of General Services responded to questions about when the state-funded tiny homes will be installed, or why the process has taken so long.

“Certainly it would be great if it could go faster, but we understand the complexity,” King said. “I’m hopeful that now that we’re in 2024 and the contracts have been awarded that things will move a little faster.”

Find your latest news here at the Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

Subscribe to The Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle

Popular

More like this
Related

Chicana feminist Judithe Hernández draws complex humanity at the Cheech

In a revealing video interview that accompanies her captivating 50-year survey at the Riverside Art Museum’s Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, artist Judithe Hernández recounts how she became the anomalous fifth member of Los Four, the groundbreaking L.A. art collective. Following the group’s ambitious 1974 exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hernández prevailed upon them to admit her into their ranks.

San Jacinto Valley students honored in January

The Hemet/San Jacinto Student of the Month program held its most recent recognition breakfast at the Maze Stone at Soboba Springs Golf Course on Jan. 18. Seven local high school seniors were recognized and honored for their character, love of learning and commitment to academics in addition to their involvement in school and community activities and their ability to overcome difficult life circumstances.

Soboba celebrates with sweets and hearts

Valentine’s Day brought out lots of pink and red hearts throughout the Soboba Indian Reservation as preschoolers to teenagers celebrated the extra sweet holiday on Feb. 14.

Hemet Film Festival: “Necessity Breeds Creativity”

During a sunny Saturday in Southern California, the first official Hemet Film Festival took place at the Historic Hemet Theatre on Florida Ave. On November 11th, 2023, audiences filled the red theater seats for a day spent watching movies directed by local filmmakers.