Gavin Newsom says California should provide 1,200 tiny homes for the homeless


March 16, 2023 | 9:31 p.m

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to call in the National Guard to build 1,200 tiny homes to house a tiny fraction of the Golden State’s approximately 170,000 homeless.

In what one critic said would be a “drop in the bucket” to solving the nagging homelessness crisis, Newsom said Thursday he hopes to have all the homes in Sacramento, San Jose, San Diego and Los Angeles ready by the fall to have.

As part of the $30 million project, the four cities will select the homes’ locations and handle maintenance.

The Democratic governor said he wanted the homeless to have options other than “living on the streets and sidewalks in these extraordinary and horrific conditions.”

“I see,” he said in Sacramento, “you want to see progress, and you want to see it now.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to call in the National Guard to build 1,200 tiny homes, AP

The homes could be as little as 120 square feet, take about 90 minutes, and be built on public land for people living in camps along roads and rivers, a spokesman for Newsom’s office said.

“We need to focus more energy and precision on combating camps,” Newsom said.

“There is no humanity there. People are dying under our watch.”

Republican Senate leader Brian Jones criticized the proposal as “just another band-aid for a crisis that’s spiraling out of control in California.”

“We know throwing money at this problem doesn’t work,” he said said in a statementadding, “While I appreciate the governor’s creativity in building 1,200 tiny homes, that’s a drop in the bucket.”

Newsom said he wants homeless people to have options other than “living on the streets,” AP

GOP Rep. Josh Hoover said he didn’t think the homes “would make a big dent.”

“I think this is another splashy announcement that I’m skeptical about getting any results from,” Hoover said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

California, home to 40 million people, has about a third of the country’s homeless population, with that dismal number rising much faster than other states, according to federal data from the Public Policy Institute of California.

Los Angeles would get 500 apartments, Sacramento another 350 apartments, San Jose 200 and San Diego 150.

Two cities notably missing from the list are San Francisco and Oakland, both of which are struggling with the homelessness crisis.

San Francisco’s proposal to build a village of tiny shacks was delayed because of community uproar, and a similar program in Oakland from 2018 to 2021 had mixed results, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Newsom has signed $22.3 billion for new housing and homelessness since taking office, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

In 2020, he called the homelessness problem a “disgrace” during his state of the state address, but in 2022 a staggering 170,000 people were homeless. About 115,000 of those people lived outdoors, according to the Los Angeles Times.

On Thursday, Newsom said local leaders had put together a plan hoping it would reduce the homeless problem by 15% by 2025.

Governor Gavin Newsom tours models of tiny houses. Sipa USA via AP

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he would welcome the new homes in the city, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“This is another really important contribution and investment,” he said.

With mail wires

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