Story at a glance
- In Santa Clara County, which includes Silicon Valley, roughly 10,000 people are homeless.
- In 2020, Santa Clara County announced a revamped effort to “end homelessness” by 2025.
- This plan will now also include purchasing private land to build tiny homes to house the homeless.
Silicon Valley is home to numerous tech giants and their respective companies, but among the wealthy tech elite in Santa Clara County, which encompasses it, roughly 10,000 people are homeless.
In 2020, Santa Clara County announced a revamped effort to “end homelessness” by 2025. While the plan states it wants to address the root cause of homelessness in the area to provide early intervention, as well as provide better quality interim housing for those struggling, the county now is considering using tiny homes as a way to house those in need.
According to a report by NBC News, the county plans to do this in a way similar to California’s motel-conversion model. Signed in July 2021 by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the motel-conversion model refers to the $12 billion bill, which includes purchasing hotels and motels to remodel them into separate residential units for the homeless.
“Every member of our community deserves a safe and stable home—and it is our collective responsibility to make this vision a reality,” the plan reads.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee said the county is considering buying private properties owned by private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and religious establishments to construct tiny homes.
“If they’re willing to put up the land, the rest of the items the county should be able to supplement and pay for,” Lee told NBC News.
Santa Clara County isn’t the first area to turn to tiny homes to provide housing for the homeless.
In October, the city of Portland, Ore., announced it would be setting up six sites to be used as Safe Rest Villages for the homeless to reside. The sites will contain individual sleeping pods with heat, electricity and locking doors. Each site will be able to house 60 people, and those who stay there will also have access to shared bathrooms, kitchens and laundry stations.
However, the root causes of homelessness still remain, including in areas such as Silicon Valley where living on minimum wage isn’t conducive with finding housing in the area.
“Even with the minimum wage, if you’re working a full-time job, and you’re making $15 an hour, but the house you’re living in is $2,400,” Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said in a November news conference, NBC News reported. “There is no way to bridge that gap.”
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