City Considers MicroPAD Housing for Sacramento’s Homeless

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SACRAMENTO -- The city of Sacramento is exploring a way to reduce the number of homeless living on the streets, giving them small dorm-style bedrooms to live in. They're called MicroPADs, which stands for Prefab Affordable Dwelling. From now till Wednesday, one will be on display at City Hall.

"The mayor has said that we need a thousand housing units for the homeless in the next year, well clearly we're not going to title and build stick frame structures in that period of time," said Jeff Harris, city council member for District 3.

Harris has pushed the idea of using MicroPADs, which are a 160-square-feet homes complete with bathroom, kitchen area, bed, desk and closet space. The pre-built units can fit together and be stacked on top of each other to make buildings.

"Brought to the site and dropped together like Lego blocks, at that point, all the sewer systems are connected," said Patrick Kennedy, owner of the PAD manufacturing company, Panoramic Interests.

Kennedy adds PAD buildings can be built in half the time to construct as traditional buildings and at 30 percent less cost. But Panoramic Interests has had problems deploying units in their home city, San Francisco.

"Certain unions in San Francisco have fought this on the grounds that it's pre-fab. They're against pre-fab of any sort," Kennedy said.

And Harris agrees, building homes is only one piece to the puzzle of getting people off the streets.

"Most of the people that I've encountered, if I put them in the micro pad or some other housing unit tomorrow, they wouldn't be successful. It's the follow on services, it's dealing with the real core issues of why people are un-housed, that's our real chore ahead of us," Harris said.

Harris still believes this is the first step in the right direction.

"You can't house people without a housing unit, and you can't house them successfully without the services. So we have to put together the whole package," he said.

Both the Sacramento City Council and the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will be holding a joint meeting Tuesday night to discuss the homeless in the area.

MicroPADs are not on the agenda, but Harris said it may come up as they talk about solutions.