California Yet to Provide Tiny Homes for Homeless Promised in 2023

Despite a promise from Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom last year to do so, California still hasn’t provided any homeless residents with tiny homes.

In March of 2023, the governor promised the state would send four different cities 1,200 tiny homes that would be used to house homeless people. According to a new report from Cal Matters, though, only 150 of these homes have been purchased to date.

The outlet’s report says there isn’t a clear reason as to why repeated delays have occurred. The state has blamed local governments at times, despite the fact that officials in these local cities have quickly approved the projects.

As the report asks:

“Governor Gavin Newsom said he’d send tiny homes to San Jose, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Diego County. Why haven’t any materialized yet?”

The plan that Newsom released last spring included the state purchasing 150 tiny homes for San Diego, 200 for San Jose, 350 for Sacramento and 500 for Los Angeles.

After the homes were purchased, the governor said the state’s National Guard “would help prepare and deliver them.”

It only takes about 90 minutes to construct these homes — which can be as small as 120 total square feet — and they cost significantly less than constructing permanent housing.

In touting his plan, the governor said the homes would help to clear encampments of homeless people that, over the last few years, have sprung up across the state.

Rulings from federal courts ban cities from clearing encampments of homeless people if they don’t have beds available at shelters.

In its report, Cal Matters highlighted that the original plan was to purchase and supply the homes to each city, the state changed that into giving each of the cities a cash grant, and then allowing them to purchase the tiny homes as they wish.

The governor’s administration enlisted six different vendors to supply these tiny homes, but most haven’t even received one order yet.

The general manager of Irontown Modular, Kam Valgardson, said his business was “absolutely shocked” they haven’t received orders yet. As he told Cal Matters:

“The big problem is that the homeless people aren’t getting served. I can complain as a business, but these homeless people are getting no support, no relief. The money’s been promised, but something’s broken in the process and nobody’s placing orders.”

The media outlet reported that California’s government has placed the blame for delays on local city authorities. Yet, at the same time, they reported that these “tiny homes have failed to materialize even when local leaders moved quickly to approve a project site.”

Monica Hassan, the deputy director of the state’s Department of General Services, said that the city of Sacramento has started to build a site for the tiny homes and has also provided funding for three more sites. This is proof, she said, that the state of California has kept up its promise.