The first residents of San Francisco’s first “tiny house” community for the homeless arrive. At $15,000 each, the city council says it pays off.
A week ago, Ryan Bauer was living in a tent on the rough sidewalk of Gough Street, south of Market. Now she lives across the street with a dramatic upgrade: she’s moved into her own little house, complete with mattress, desk, chair and, most luxurious of all, a heater that heats up quickly. his dwelling of 6 square meters. It’s almost as important as a front door that locks inside and out with a combination lock.
Bauer has been homeless for 30 years, since leaving Illinois at age 17. He is among 30 men and women who have been moved from a tent community on land leased by the city to tiny structures where they can live for at least a year. Eventually, the site will house 70 modular duplexes.
Elizabeth Funk, 52, is the founder and CEO of DignityMoves, a nonprofit that emerged during the pandemic to address crisis on the streets. In less than a year, he raised $2 million to build a total of 70-bedroom duplexes from prefabricated shipping containers mounted on steel foundations with insulation and electrical outlets. The site will include improved toilets, storage spaces and a dining hall.
The houses, along with the dining hall and other facilities, will be paid for by DignityMoves and the non-profit community Tipping Point as part of a pilot program. The cost to build each unit is around $15,000, but if you add amenities like two dining rooms, bathrooms, a computer, and gardening, the total is $30,000 per unit. The city will pay for catering, security and support services.
The city spent about $60,000 per tent for the Safe Villages, including food, security and support services.
The first 12 residents have already moved into their new accommodation.
When the village is finished this spring, it will have all 70 rooms and two dining halls with three meals a day provided by the non-profit organization Mother Brown. The non-profit organization Urban Alchemy will provide on-site security and support services.
The land is owned by a private developer who is awaiting building permits for permanent accommodation. The city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing leases it through at least March 2023, with possible extensions.
Everyone who has been living in a tent on the site for a year has been offered a room. No one rejected her.
A sister village is being built in Santa Barbara with a separate budget of $1.8 million, and more are being considered across the state.
It is not an alternative to permanent housing, but it is an interesting alternative for people who are reluctant to go to collective shelters.
More information: dignitymoves.org