SAN JOSE (KPIX / BCN / CBS SF) – Supervisors and community partners in Santa Clara County gathered Monday to open the opening of Casitas de Esperanza at the Civic Center – a cluster of tiny houses outside of San Jose’s Old Town Hall.
The new tiny residential area at 801 N. 1st Street will provide temporary shelter to 25 unhodged families with children across the county for 120 days.
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First, check out two dozen tiny houses that have been built on the old San Jose City Hall compound that will eventually be used to build permanent housing. Meant for homeless families. Tiny homes funded by @SCCgov, sleep 4, powered by solar, built by @palletshelter @KPIXtv pic.twitter.com/L5f75325iu
– Kiet Thu (@KietKPIX) February 8, 2021
Santa Clara district leader Cindy Chavez said one of the goals is to show that tiny home communities can be good neighbors.
“And then to prove to the neighborhood that it is an advantage for everyone if we tell them it really is,” said Chavez. “One of the things that was so exciting about this project is the focus on children and families.”
The Amigos de Guadalupe Center for Justice and Empowerment, a partner with the county, will operate the website and provide services such as case management and educational services to help children re-enroll in school.
“One of the biggest causes of homelessness is the feeling of isolation and separation that marginalize our homeless population,” said Maritza Maldonado, executive director of Amigos de Guadalupe. “Creating connection points through case management, building a community … helps individuals and families reconnect with the world around them and put them on a path to empowerment, self-sufficiency and, ultimately, permanent living.”
Laura Delgado, the caretaker of Amigos de Guadalupe, remembers meeting the first family to move in, a mother named Araly and her two daughters Raquel (5) and Martha (4).
“One of the little girls opened the door and said ‘Mi casita! ‘Which means my home, my little house in English,’ said Delgado.
Delgado translated Araly’s comments to reporters at a press event Monday.
“First of all, she would like to thank everyone for their support and says that she and her family are very happy and delighted to be here. Your daughters are very excited. “
Casitas de Esperanza was purposely designed to foster a sense of community – something that many unhodged individuals lack, creating further isolation and further removing them from the ability to be re-housed.
Each tiny house has four bunks that can be folded up and used as a bed or table, shelves to store items, air conditioning, and power with outlets for charging cellphones, laptops, and other items.
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The site also includes two HR offices and a 400 square meter common room.
In addition, Plantlush, a small business in San Jose, donated landscaping and plants to create a better sense of community on the site.
The WeHope project will also provide a shower trailer and a laundry trailer four days a week, which will also be on site four days a week.
District officials said the tiny homes made by Seattle-based Pallet were “selected after extensive market research for their timeliness in manufacture and construction, and their relative cost-effectiveness.”
One example is the use of solar microgrids made by BoxPower that provide 85 percent of its electricity consumption, said Consuelo Hernandez, director of the County Office of Supportive Housing.
The development of this new location is part of the county’s goal to end homelessness.
One of the principles of this goal is to double the number of emergency shelters from 2,000 to 4,000. This new location brings the district closer to its goal by a further 100 beds.
The tiny houses are an important step in the district’s “Plan 2020-2025 to End Homelessness”, which aims to reduce the influx of new homelessness by 30 percent per year, build supportive housing for 20,000 people, expand prevention programs and double the number of people current population of homeless includes temporary shelter.
District manager Otto Lee said “NIMBYism” is one of the district’s greatest challenges, but one that can be met with confidence and the fears and expectations of increasing crime and epidemics in the tiny houses.
“When people can see the actual project that works like this pilot, they say, ‘Hey, it’s not as bad as I thought it was. “I think that will be the ultimate goal so that everyone can come together to support our ideas and help our residents,” said Lee.
However, Chavez said the shelters are only a temporary fix to address the emergency exacerbated by the pandemic. The county hopes to convert the land into permanent housing.
“This shelter and the land it is on symbolize how Santa Clara County will transition from temporary shelter to permanent shelter,” Chavez said. “In the meantime, we’re making the best use of this land and making sure we have more shelters until we can build all the permanent shelters we need.”
Site preparation and construction for Casitas de Esperanza totaled $ 1.4 million, with $ 1.6 million earmarked for maintenance and operations over the next two years.
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