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Tiny-Home Developments in San Jose Offer Alternative to Homelessness

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- On Saturday, San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo joined members of the city council and the community to assemble 8-foot by 10-foot homeless shelters that will be part of the city's first-ever tiny home community.

"It's a crisis that none of us can ignore. It's all over the city. We have over 6,000 unhoused neighbors in the city of San Jose," said Habitat for Humanity spokeswoman Patti Wang.

Tiny Houses in San Jose
A row of tiny homes built to attack the homelessness crisis in San Jose. (CBS)

These dwellings -- not much bigger than a tool shed -- can provide a ladder out of homelessness, according to Mayor Liccardo.

"This is just transitional housing," the mayor said. "These are folks who typically have jobs or are work-ready. Sometimes, they may have a housing voucher but are waiting to get into permanent housing because we know that wait can sometimes be three to six months."

The city of San Jose conducted an extensive search for possible locations: the first is next to the new Berryessa BART station; the second is on land provided by Caltrans near the intersection of Highway 101 and Interstate 280.

Neighbors initially opposed nearly every location the city considered for a tiny-home camp. The mayor said he wants to prove this can be achieved without any attendant noise, litter or drug problems.

"We need to show this community and the rest of the city that we can do this successfully and, hopefully, we'll be able to expand these across the city."

The city's goal is to have the first tiny home community up and running by Nov. 1 in time before winter sets in.

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