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California proposing tiny homes for homeless population

By Brisa Colón

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    MONTEREY, California (KSBW) — Homelessness has risen 12% nationwide in just the last year. As a solution, in California, Gov. Newsom is proposing the state build hundreds of tiny homes in areas like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and Sacramento. But the need is everywhere.

“The need is here, it’s just that we don’t have enough housing for them. There is not enough shelters for them as well,” Evangelina Ochoa, Shuman Heart House Homeless Shelter, Monterey, said.

Pallet is one of the state-awarded vendors of these tiny homes. They say the temporary housing model is often the missing piece in solving the complex issue.

“Having the privacy and dignity of a locking individualized unit really helps them feel secure and safe and helps them in their pathway to eventually transitioning into permanent housing,” Lia Salaverry, with Pallet, said.

The public benefit corporation visited Monterey on Friday to show off its newest models, costing anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 a unit. Citizens and elected leaders alike stopped by to get a glimpse.

“Everyone’s interested in any ideas or solutions to help chip away at the homelessness crisis. Micro housing, temporary housing, or permanent housing, all different combinations. It’s a beautiful thing,” Shawn Stone, Community Human Services, said.

Tiny homes like this one are just one part of the greater solution to help get people back on their feet.

Homeless advocates say while temporary housing is a successful model, other services are just as critical.

“Having an approach that works for the tailored individual is part of the secret sauce that we like to point out,” Salaverry said.

There continues to be a growing need in Monterey County. According to local homeless service providers, on any given month, shelters have up to 250 people on waitlists.

That, coupled with a lack of funding, leaves many organizations feeling like their work is never finished.

“We’re talking about whether it’s a single mother, a two-parent house, a single father they could be a newborn. There are newborns out there with families with newborns, as well as up to a 17-year-old. There’s homeless youth out there. Homelessness does not discriminate,” Ochoa said.

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