Tiny houses give SJSU students big plans to help the homeless

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose State University students have big plans for tiny houses.

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A lone log cabin is on display at the campus now but students are hoping to create entire villages of the little homes.

The 280-square-foot structure is not plush, but it's a shelter. Students are intrigued. They say it's good enough for them.

If you want to be a big man on campus, just stand next to the tiny house.

"Like that's pretty much a room and a bathroom right there, so, not much else you really need," said student Jeremy Ryan. "And I've worked with a room and a bathroom so I think I can prepare myself well for this."

It's a novel idea for SJSU students, but the tiny house has a bigger purpose.

"This will be a temporary fix for someone that's waiting for section 8 housing with a voucher," said urban and regional planning graduate student Jerry Wilburn.

Wilburn is writing his master's thesis on tiny houses to help solve the problem of homelessness. His plan is to have ten villages placed throughout San Jose with 30 tiny homes.

It would give shelter to 300 of San Jose's more than 7000 homeless people.

"I have a team of researchers," said Wilburn. "We wrote a policy proposal for land use for the very first tiny home village."

Junior Carlina Potthast thinks it's a great idea. "We should consider it for that and beyond," she said. "It could be good student housing. It could be good senior housing."

She'd consider it for herself, but points out she'd have to have somewhere to put it.

One student had a different concern -- he's much too tall. "So a tiny house might have a bit of an inconvenience for me though," said Feyany Onubogu.

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Still, the idea of an affordable and portable home makes a tiny house a big winner in the eyes of many.
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