San Jose has been struggling with homelessness, but tiny homes could offer a solution. The City Council recently voted nine to two approving a pilot program to construct a 40-unit tiny house village. Architecture firm Gensler created two pro-bono design proposals for the city earlier this month – and both feature tiny homes that are aesthetically attractive and efficient.
San Jose’s city council just approved a year-long tiny home village program. Elected officials must now determine three potential sites for the pilot. The idea was suggested around a year ago, and would offer 80- to 140-square foot shelters in what are called Bridge Housing Communities. San Jose seems to view the housing as an interim solution, referring to the shelters as emergency sleeping cabins. Around 25 people could dwell in each community, and The Mercury News said the city aims to have a village in each of the 10 city council districts.
Gensler offered two designs, one called Folding Home and the other Better Together. A small bed, locking door, and windows could be features of the tiny homes. The city also said each site could have community bathrooms and showers, a cooking facility, common areas, and case management onsite to help residents.
Some elected leaders have criticized the city’s plan for its cost: $73,125 per tiny house for 40 units. Some people have suggested sanctioned encampments as an alternative, but others argued against legal tent cities in Silicon Valley. Nonprofit Destination: Home executive director Jennifer Loving told The Mercury News, “Sleeping in a tent outside is not the best we can do. We have to start somewhere and a home, even temporary, is better than a tent on the ground.”
Images via Gensler/City of San Jose