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Sonoma County Considers Building Tiny Homes for Homeless

Sonoma County Supervisers have allocated $75,000 to study building tiny homes to house a portion of the area's growing homeless population. According to the Press Democrat, the funds will allow county staff to investigate six Santa Rosa sites that could potentially host a tiny house village which could include between eight to 12 structures ranging from 50 to 400 square feet. Those units could be anything from trailers to small cabins to shipping containers. The goal would be to select a possible site next month and then ask developers to offer concepts for how it might be created. The newspaper says sites to be explored include vacant city-owned lots, the parking lot of the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, and the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

The Press Democrat quoted Supervisor Shirlee Zane as saying: "We are in crisis mode when it comes to affordable housing. We really can't afford not to use every single tool in our toolbox, and here is another one."

As they considered next steps, the supervisors reportedly studied the small number of similar projects in other parts of the U.S., including a tiny home village in Olympia, Washington (pictured above) that replaced a homeless encampment. The village is run by a nonprofit agency and provides space to homeless people. According to the Press Democrat, those units cost $88,000 apiece and were covered largely by state and federal funding.

· Sonoma County to spend $75,000 to study proposed tiny homes for homeless [Press Democrat]
· Site Visit: A Tiny House Village in Olympia Offers a New Model for Housing the Homeless [Metropolis]