Thursday, January 24, 2019

SF Construction Workers Trying to Block Garden Sheds for Homeless

Even though many cities on the West Coast are allowing and even encouraging tiny houses as a way to get the homeless off the streets there is opposition to it in San Francisco, CA for a variety of reasons.

Garden Sheds replacing tents in San Francisco (notice the wheels)

Typical current living situations for many in SF

These tiny houses are not what is portrayed on HGTV. Rather they are glorified yard sheds that get a paint job, a couple of beds and nightstands and a table with 2 chairs that are meant to house two homeless people or a homeless couple.

They are also not meant to be the last place the homeless will live but apparently once they get a roof over their heads, a central kitchen that feeds them, a central bathroom and laundry, that is exactly what appears to be happening. And it all free for them but not for the taxpayers of California.

The tiny homes are also not conforming with any housing codes including fire, wind or earthquakes. China is even looking at producing a garden shed type for the homeless which will come fully furnished but still not meeting building codes of any kind.

Now the construction labor unions which have a lock on building in San Francisco are beginning to push back on these garden shed homes and to be honest even modular housing within the city.

As the city council allocates Prop C money and designs a grand plan for the near future, advocates of tiny homes argue that they could act as transitional housing on the way to something else.

Now let’s be serious here. There are many homeless people in SF that would love to find a job and move off the streets and out of living in a garden shed. But what happens to those tiny house communities when they become filled with mostly people that don’t want to or can’t work?

In a decade or so the city will have to make the choice of throwing the homeless out or giving them a new garden shed to live.

And as everyone knows the life expectancy of a garden shed used as a house is only 10 years at best. Sorry, I couldn’t pass that one up!

For now I have to agree with the labor unions. Build these tiny homeless shelters to a minimum building code using local labor and local factories and they will last a long time with hopefully homeless people moving in, taught workplace skills and then moving on to permanent living arrangements.

If not, those tiny home communities will soon be the subject of documentaries portraying the failure of cities’ efforts to help the homeless.

And here is a sobering thought for all my real Tiny House readers. Soon people will begin equating your homes with these garden sheds and begin banning you outright or severely restricting where you can live.

That is the age old problem modular home owners face as many communities equate their homes with single and double wide manufactured homes.


JC said...

A bunch of sheds do not a community make.
But it would be heartless not to see the potential solution implicit in this initiative. Certainly the COMMUNITY FIRST endeavor in Austin, TX didn't miss it.

Backyard Home Pro said...

This is my stomping ground and we've been trying to get these folks to see that there is a solution that acan be done to code. Our 150sqft unit is designed to comply with CA's efficiency unit code and it has a bathroom and kitchenette. We're currently building them a panel kits but this year we'll be getting our license to do them as MOD's.