1,000s Of "Micro-Homes" Sprout Up All Over Bay Area To House The Growing Homeless Population

Roughly one year ago we shared the plans of a billionaire real estate developer in San Francisco who wanted to build communities for the homeless in Bay Area neighborhoods using stackable steel shipping containers (see: San Fran Billionaire Luanches Plan To House Homeless In Shipping Containers).  Not surprisingly, the efforts were met with some resistance from the liberal elites of Santa Clara who, despite their vocal support of any number of federal subsidy programs for low-income families, would prefer that those low-income families, and their subsidies, stay far away from their posh, suburban, "safe places."

Alas, as the San Francisco Chronicle points out today, like it or not, the boom in "micro-houses" is just getting started in the Bay Area with nearly 1,000 tiny homes, with less than 200 square feet of living space, currently being planned in San Francisco, San Jose, Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland and Santa Rosa.

Planners say that’s just the beginning. “We’re very excited about micro-homes,” said Lavonna Martin, director of Contra Costa County’s homeless programs. “They could be a big help. They have a lot of promise, and our county is happy to be on the cutting edge of this one. We’re ready.”


Contra Costa has a $750,000 federal homelessness grant to pay for 50 stackable micro-units of supportive housing, and Richmond Mayor Tom Butt would like to see them in his city. Developer Patrick Kennedy brought a prototype of his MicroPad unit to Richmond in November, and county and city leaders say they are leaning toward choosing it.


“They’re very fine, and they make a nice-looking building,” Butt said. “They’d be good for anybody looking for housing.”


The beauty of the tiny units is that they can be built in a fraction of the time it takes to construct typical affordable housing, and at a sliver of the cost, which means a lot of homeless folks can be housed quickly.

The homes have also caught on in San Jose where the City Council just approved $2.4 million to build a village of 40 units to help house the homeless.  Of course, just like in Santa Clara, San Jose residents are lashing out at city officials over plans that they say will only serve to increase neighborhood crime.

San Jose resident Sue Halloway told the council she was afraid putting the village near residences would increase “neighborhood crime, neighborhood blight (and) poor sanitation,” and predicted that it would be “a magnet for more homeless.”


City Councilman Raul Peralez said he understands such concerns, but that “there are no facts surrounding these tiny homes and whatever blight or crime they might bring, because we haven’t done them yet.”


“I tell people you really have two options,” said Peralez, who said he wants the village in his downtown district. “You can allow the homeless to live on the streets, or you can provide not only shelter but services in a confined area — with security. In my mind, that’s a way better option for managing this community in an organized way.”

So, what do the stackable units look like?  As seen in the video below, prototypes from one manufacturer, MicroPad, come complete with full bathrooms and kitchens and have up to 160-180 square feet of living space...

“These micro-homes may seem small at 160 to 180 square feet, but they’re actually pretty spacious when you’re in them,” she said. “And they go up very fast.”


Kennedy’s MicroPads have showers, beds and kitchens. Individually they resemble shipping containers, but once they’re bolted together with siding and utilities, they look like a regular building.

...which is more or less considered a mansion by struggling New York artist standards...


Lore shitshitshit Wed, 12/27/2017 - 01:32 Permalink

Precisely. People who bitch and complain about "affordability" are really expressing the desire to live in the choicest real estate markets -- ON YOUR DIME. It's an extension of entitlement culture.  If you want to piss them off, remind them that there are much more affordable places within a 2-hour drive in pretty much any direction, and the solution can be expressed in one word:  MOVE.Local urban planners and developers have been throwing up thousands upon thousands of Agenda 21-certified shoebox housing projects, all subsidized, and if we have anything like the energy crunch and collapse that some are forecasting, the occupants of these "walkable," "densified" (close to the riff raff) structures are going to find themselves smack in the middle of starving, disease-ridden war zone ghettos. Schmucks don't study history. "Gentification" is a deliberate misnomer.  Real gentry live in country estates for a REASON. 

In reply to by shitshitshit

rrrr shitshitshit Wed, 12/27/2017 - 07:33 Permalink

Homelessness is experienced by a very small part of the population and is not the experience of most people in the US. The prevailing experience tends rather to be more toward the other end of the curve, where people can make it and do make it and have made it and continue to make it, very different from most other countries. We have problems, that's true. And some of them are severe. Show me a population on earth in which this is not true. And I don't mean only populations in which homelessness is a big problem. Consider ALL problems. Then the USA doesn't look so bad.

In reply to by shitshitshit

philipat wee-weed up Tue, 12/26/2017 - 23:44 Permalink

Sorry, and I do fully expect many downvotes (Never Mind!!) but I don't actually agrre with many of the comments above. This is a normal manifestation of a "Free Market" (Don't we  believe in Free Markets here in the Fight cCub?). If people can't afford to live in SF together with Nancy and the Technoboys, they are free to leave somewhere else.. And should IMHO. It's an attractive City but, IMHO, too full of Libtards with whom I find it difficult to communicate?

In reply to by wee-weed up

Giant Meteor philipat Wed, 12/27/2017 - 00:58 Permalink

Well the thing is, had it not been for zirp, various QE's and such, erosion of the dolla, and it's earnimg , purchasing power, FED buying all that bad debt, pumping, money laundering etc,  .. in short, manipulation of all markets, and the financialization (Financial lies nation) in the FIRE e con o me .. would we really be here at this point of absurdity, ie; "free markets."Strange, I do not recall such a need for living in tiny boxes, not all that long ago in history ..In fact, not all that long ago, a man raised a family, bought a car, maybe 2, and a modest home, and with a bit of overtime perhaps afforded that little mountain retreat or cottage at the shore for a bit of R & R for he, the non working spouse and the kiddies .. I submit, that was a bit more free market like, that is to say when the nation wasn't attempting wage parity with the third world ..  of course globally speaking, as some say, why that IS the free market indeed .. Except, every major economy it would appear, in some way, shape or form, is MANIPULATED , top down ..Yeah, Facebbok, Snapchat, there's an app for that .. valuations based upon what you say ?Strange mirage we got going on here ...

In reply to by philipat

buttmint wcole225 Wed, 12/27/2017 - 09:58 Permalink

....all these California cities are going to have dense micro house ghettos AND Homeless running amuck. Homeless know full well there is affordable, decent housing in Stockton, Barstow, Baker, Indio, Las Cruces...many places.They are mostly lazy bums "...living off fat of the land."If the govvie handouts ended, they would drift back to wherever they came from. California was born of Okie Migrations.

In reply to by wcole225

Antifaschistische Throat-warbler… Tue, 12/26/2017 - 22:42 Permalink

In Houston, they can't keep the homeless off the Light Rail Vehicles (light trains)...so, they always smell like urine.  you know, kind of like a cat litter box after about a week.i can only imagine what these homeless people will do to these fancy micro homes.ps. most of the homeless in Houston don't care about this crap.  What they'd really like is for "us" (police, mayor, etc) to stop kicking them off the ground they're squatting on.  I think this is an entertaining situation for all the do gooders. They don't want to ever see a homeless person, so they'll build a box they don't mind seeing to stuff them all in.  I can't think of a better way for a billionaire to spend their money.ps. don't ask me for any of my money for these things.ps2. if you'd drop all the city zoning and codes etc...then the homeless can just build their own shelters.  maybe studs won't be every 16 inches...so what. let them be.

In reply to by Throat-warbler…

CatInTheHat cheka Wed, 12/27/2017 - 11:11 Permalink

I live in Portland and I don't know what you read, but I do know that Portland is allowing families who have homeless members who buy RV's, to stay in their yards. Our homeless population has exploded due to gentrification. Upper middle class white techies who don't like seeing the homeless on the street by their businesses, most of whom are working class whose wages have stagnated and can't keep up with the astronomical cost of rents. Meanwhile, our Mayor is trying to criminalize homelessness here, with help from a billionaire business owner (Columbia Sportswear), who wrote a nasty oped in our local paper about the homeless outside his store in downtown Portland and who has threatened to move the store unless it was better patrolled by cops in the area...Apparently, this billionaire douche bag doesn't like the consequences of his tax breaks and wealthy techie buddies moving in to high rises going up all over Portland, resulting in Unaffordable housing, consequences, ie: homelessness.This problem here is so severe that local businesses and churches have opened up their parking lots to RV homeless encampments. Wish they had these little homes in Portland.By the way, the biggest obstacle for the homeless to services, let alone an OUNCE of empathy is STEREOTYPING.When people show their bigoted and racist views, I remind them that they are why Trump is in power... 

In reply to by cheka

G-ray ACP Tue, 12/26/2017 - 21:33 Permalink

Same story here in Seattle.  I have been fortunate to have a rental that has stayed the same over the last 10 years.  Now the owners are selling and I am facing a very cruel rental maarket.  I haave managed to pay off all debt and have savings in cash, metals and crypto.  Now my fellow hedgers, I ask,  do I liquidate some and put a substantial down payment on a vey modest house on the very outskirts of the Puget Sound Necropolis, or do I bite the bullet and continue renting and wait fot this house of cards to fall.  I have been patient for too long and I am really begining to loose my mind.....

In reply to by ACP

MEFOBILLS BarkingCat Tue, 12/26/2017 - 22:52 Permalink

Buy 15 acres in Texas, then apply for ag exemption.  Then grow grass.  When the grass comes in, you can get it bailed in those round bails.  Or, eventually buy your own bailing equipment.Sell the grass to local cattle ranchers.  The Ag exemption will drop your property taxes to low levels, and you don't have income tax.  You land will also be producing as the grass grows anyway.It takes about 5 years to get the ag exemption, unless you buy a place that already has it, and can convey said exemption.  In other words, if you just buy land, then you have to work at it for awhile with no exemption.Once you are not being milked for high taxes, and your place is paid off, then you can chill and not worry about predators putting their hands down in your pockets.

In reply to by BarkingCat

ZIONISM KILLS ACP Wed, 12/27/2017 - 00:00 Permalink

Thumbs  UP,  In  78 79  a  row  house  was  $ 400.00 the  only  bad  thing,  one  bathroom  downstairs.split  between  4  guys,  it  was  a  great  time. 4  finger  bags  where  10  bucks. gas  was  99  cents  a gallon  at  Phillips 66 .chilli  cheese  dog  49 cents.

In reply to by ACP