Tiny homes could be part of a rapid response to homelessness

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Sept. 17, 20210) — During my time in the Assembly, I have worked tirelessly to reform our housing policies to help communities build the housing that they want and need.

Everyone agrees that any solution to our housing crisis is going to involve increasing our housing supply, but it’s going to take some real time to both implement policies that can spur production and to start seeing shovels hit the ground on new development.

In the meantime, we need to address the immediate need of getting Californians off the streets and into homes. At the beginning of the month, I highlighted one possible solution to this problem by bringing a tiny home to the steps of our state capitol.

California’s homeless population increased by nearly 25 percent from 2018 to 2020, and we are at risk of seeing that statistic grow as more than 4 in 10 California households have unaffordable housing costs.

There is no one solution to our homelessness crisis, but I think tiny homes may be one leg of the stool. Tiny homes are scaled, self-contained homes that are rapidly deployable, meaning they can be quickly built and installed into our communities. The tiny home that I used for demonstration at the capitol, which was provided by Access Housing, was built and delivered in only 30 days. Imagine the difference that we could make in our communities by offering that kind of rapid response to families who have no place to call home.

These homes also come on wheels, so we would have the ability to put it on a property where people are unhoused and later move it when those individuals are able to find a more permanent place to live.

These houses can be used for more than transitional housing. I see them as a critical tool to use during our state’s response to wildfires. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has used tiny homes as temporary housing during emergency response, and these units can be brought to wildfire-affected areas to serve both displaced families and firefighters on the front lines.

The tiny home that I brought to the capitol for demonstration was set up to house one family, but additional configurations would allow for up to five individuals to be privately housed.

Over the course of the two days that the tiny home was displayed, I invited my legislative colleagues and the public to tour the unit and discover first-hand how innovative and adaptable a solution it can be. Nearly everybody who visited the tiny home said they were impressed by the speed of its construction and the comfort of its interior.

My hope is that I’ve inspired my colleagues to be part of this solution to bring immediate shelter and relief to Californians experiencing hardship and homelessness.

Last year, 70 percent of Californians experiencing homelessness were considered “unsheltered.” A problem of that magnitude demands a response of equal measure. You can count on me to continue to fight for new and immediate solutions to help individuals and families struggling in our communities.

To watch a virtual tour of the tiny home, please visit me on Facebook (@AsmGrayson). To learn more about my work on housing and homelessness issues, call my Concord district office.

Reach Assemblyman Tim Grayson at (925) 521-1511. Visit or write the district office 2151 Salvio Street, Suite P, ­Concord, CA 94520