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Report Delivered On Tiny Home Communities As Transitional Housing

A brochure from Opportunity Village touts the benefits of living in a communi...

Credit: One Square Villages

Above: A brochure from Opportunity Village touts the benefits of living in a community of tiny homes in Eugene, Oregon, Sept. 13, 2017.

Temporary communities of tiny homes may be one of the options the City of San Diego eventually considers, as it looks for ways to move the growing number of people who are homeless off the streets.

As the city of San Diego looks for ways to transition the growing number of people who are homeless off the streets, it may eventually consider temporary communities of tiny homes.

Jeeni Criscenzo of the nonprofit group Amikas on Wednesday delivered a report on tiny home communities in various cities to the City of San Diego’s Select Committee on Homelessness.

Criscenzo said communities in Seattle, Portland and Eugene, Oregon, are further ahead than proposed tiny home communities she visited in San Jose and Sacramento.

"California’s having a real problem getting going, compared to Oregon and Washington, where there’s a lot less barriers to this," she said.

California has not yet developed zoning or building codes for tiny homes, Criscenzo said. She said jurisdictions like San Diego will find it easier to experiment with solutions like tiny home communities if new legislation in Sacramento passes. AB 932 would amend California’s housing code to suspend certain regulations if a shelter crisis is declared.

The Select Committee on Homelessness recommended Wednesday that the city council declare a shelter crisis.

Criscenzo said tiny home communities are a more effective form of transitional housing for the homeless than large tents.

"In a tiny house village, people are in their own space," she said. "And they have the sense of safety at night, they can lock their things up during the day and go about their business. They have a sense of dignity."

Criscenzo said neighborhoods dealing with an increase in homelessness are more likely to accept temporary communities of tiny houses than a large tent.

San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward, who chairs the city’s Select Committee on Homelessness, has also recently visited a tiny home community in Seattle, along with City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez and other city representatives, to assess whether it is a viable strategy for San Diego.

The Select Committee also recommended an update of the city's Comprehensive Homeless Policy, which was adopted in the mid-1990s. Tiny home communities are not currently part of that policy.

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