Wildfire victims may finally move into tiny home they won in contest

A family that lost its home in the North Bay Fires may finally be getting its happy ending. The family won a tiny home weeks after their house burned down, but they still haven't been allowed to move in.

7 On Your Side's Michael Finney is working to bring all the different government and private entities together to make this happen.

The tiny home has all the amenities the Olceses say they need. They won the home from the Disney cable network, Freeform. It features a pull-out dining room table that converts into a bed for the kids.

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There's also a king size sleeping loft. "That's mommy and daddy's bed," said 5-year old Selah Olcese. And a very serviceable kitchen.

If you ask Selah, the best part is a Jacuzzi bathtub. She runs up to the tub to point out its best feature. "The jets are way down here," she explains.

The family couldn't be happier. "It's beautiful. It's amazing," said Selah's mom Annie.

The tiny home gives the family hope, in stark contrast to the now-cleared plot of land they used to call home in Santa Rosa's Larkfield neighborhood.

The property has been in the Olcese family for three generations. It belonged to the children's grandparents who haven't yet decided if they will rebuild.

In the meantime, the family has rented a plot of land behind a Santa Rosa home to place their tiny home. But the family has been unable to obtain the necessary permits needed before move in.

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"It's been about ten months, almost 11 months of just like waiting, talking, figuring out permits. Figuring out whether or not we can do it," said dad, Henry. "It's just felt like this uphill struggle. No one tells us the same information. No one seems to be on the same page," Annie said.

7 On Your Side arranged a meeting between a permit official and the Olceses to get all the family's questions answered.

Jesse Oswald is the city's chief building official. He said the biggest obstacle is whether a tiny home built in Tennessee meets all California regulations and requirements. "Someone needs to certify they meet those minimum requirements as established by the State of California," Oswald explained.

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The tiny home is manufactured by New Frontier Tiny Homes. Its homes are normally certified by Pacific West Associates.

Santa Rosa said it was not familiar with PWA, and questioned whether it could accept a PWA certification. After a meeting 7 On Your Side arranged, the city has now agreed to accept a certification from PWA.

"It's good to know we're on the right path now," said Annie. She hopes the family can move into the home before the birth of their third child in less than two months.

Final certification of the tiny home is pending a visual inspection by PWA which should happen before the end of the month.

Freeform and ABC7 are part of the Disney family of television stations.

Go here for full coverage on the North Bay fires.
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