California will spend about $30 million to build 1,200 small homes across the state this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday, part of a plan to help house the largest population in destitute of the United States and address a problem that has plagued the entity for some time.
The homes, some as small as 11 square meters (120 square feet), can be assembled in 90 minutes and cost a fraction of what it costs to build a permanent home. Newsom said the houses can create space to help clear encampments of destitute that have arisen in the main cities of the state. Federal courts have ruled that cities cannot evict homeless encampments if beds are not available.
“We have to focus more energy and precision on addressing (the problem of) the encampments,” Newsom said. “There is no humanity there. People are dying while we’re in charge.”
Newsom announced his plans in Sacramento, the first leg of a planned four-city tour, in which he has promised to make major political announcements on housing, healthcare and public safety. The tour replaces the governor’s traditional State of the State address.
Local rulers across the country have been using small houses for years to help house their populations of destitute. In San Jose, a city of nearly a million people located at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mayor Matt Mahan stated that the city has installed 500 small homes in the last three years. The city’s rate of homeless people not living in housing dropped from 84% to 75%, the first drop in many years, according to Mahan.
“If we look at the places in the world that have managed to overcome this challenge, it is because they have increased the safe places where people can go,” he said.
In California Nearly one-third of all homeless people in the United States live.
“This is just another ‘Band-Aid’ to address an out-of-control crisis in Californiasaid Brian Jones, the Republican leader in the state Senate. “We know that putting money into this problem doesn’t work.”
Sacramento will receive 350 of the homes. Los Angeles will receive 500, San José 200 and San Diego 150. While the state pays for their construction and installation, local governments will take care of their maintenance, and that includes deciding where to locate them. The homes will have electricity, but no pipes, water or kitchen appliances, according to the governor’s office.
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