SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The city of Sacramento could soon spend $5 million to purchase hundreds of tiny homes to house the homeless.
The mayor and several other city council members said they support the idea as a cheaper and quicker way to get people off the streets.
“I lived out on the streets of Sacramento for five and a half years and to live outside is a traumatic, trying experience,” said Joe Smith, the advocacy director for Loaves and Fishes, a nonprofit that feeds and shelters Sacramento’s homeless.
Smith said he still remembers what it was like having to carry everything he owns with him at all times.
“Once you do find a place to set up your camp you can’t walk away from it because everything you own could be gone when you get back,” he told FOX40.
That’s why Smith and other homeless advocates support Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s proposal to start getting tiny homes bought and sent to homeless community outreach groups fast.
“It does not have to take nine months, 12 months or 15 months to bring homeless people indoors,” Steinberg said.
Mayor Steinberg said in early August, the city council will be voting to authorize the city manager to spend $5 million to purchase up to 500 tiny homes for distribution to organizations willing to create small communities for the homeless.
“The government does not have to organize, build and/or operate all of the solutions,” Steinberg said.
The mayor said the design on the tiny homes will vary but that they will come with electricity, water, restroom facilities and garbage pickup supplied by the city. But the mayor admits the building code on the tiny homes will be vague.
“I don’t want the city to overly regulate here,” Steinberg explained. “The whole concept here is to allow as much of this as possible to be community driven.”
The tiny home communities will also be self-governing encampments, as proposed by the homeless advocacy group Safe Ground.
Smith said the project would be a lifesaver for many living on the streets.
“So, to have a safe dignified place to call home offers people an opportunity to breathe, they can start to begin accomplishing goals and they can turn their life around,” Smith said.
Steinberg said he expects to use a portion of the approximately $7 million the city expects to receive from this year’s state budget to pay for the tiny home initiative. He federal CARES Act funding included in the state budget is another potential source.