Oakland City Councilman Abel Guillen said on Sept. 10 that on Sept. 11 he will move into a tiny home for two days to underscore the homelessness crisis for local students.
Guillen, who will move into one of two tiny homes in the parking lot of the West Side Missionary Baptist Church at 732 Willow St. at 2 p.m. on Sept. 11, said he previously secured an $80,000 city grant to fund “Pocket Houses,” the tiny home program for Laney College of Oakland.
He described it as an innovative city-college partnership that seeks to promote a new form of housing for homeless people.
“We know that the regional homelessness crisis has escalated in the past couple of years,” Guillen said in a statement.
Guillen said, “One of the overlooked segments of the growing homeless population in the East Bay is young community-college students. This project puts a spotlight on them, and marks a practical, though small, step to address the problem.”
The two tiny homes were built by Laney carpentry students and have found a home in the parking lot of West Side Missionary Baptist Church, thanks to the generosity of Rev. Ken Chambers and others who have helped make it a reality.
Guillen said, “These tiny homes offer dignified housing for students who currently do not have a home. At the tiny home site, students will also receive individualized wrap-around support services as they move toward finding more permanent housing – and pursue their studies.”
Laney’s Carpentry Department and FabLab designed the two tiny-house prototypes for mass production to help address the housing-affordability challenges that Oakland is facing, according to Guillen.
Using a three-dimensional computer model, components of the tiny homes were designed and fabricated by students and required minimal tools for rapid assembly.
Guillen said the homes are low-maintenance and are built with new materials available through local suppliers.
“Built in Oakland for Oakland, this tiny house will be designed to fit Oakland’s unique needs and will showcase our city’s innovative maker culture,” FabLab Director Danny Beasly said.
The tiny homes range from 10 to 14 feet long, and include a bedroom with a sleeping loft in the small model, while the medium version will incorporate additional amenities of a shower, toilet, and kitchenette.
Guillen said he hopes the city can secure additional support from private, non-profit sources to ramp up production and scale up tiny homes as a practical solution to help students facing housing insecurity and he’s also looking for future sites in Oakland to place more of the homes.
By Jeff Shuttleworth