Gov. Newsom tours tiny houses for homeless in San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom was in the Bay Area's largest city Thursday afternoon to tour what he said is an innovative project that could help combat the homeless crisis across the state.

"It's a question of scale. It's a question of capacity. It's a question of resolve, and so I just want you to know that we are resolved to scale programs like this," said Newsom.

As part of his statewide homelessness tour, the governor attended the grand opening for the Mabury Bridge Housing Community. In the months and years to come, city leaders say this community will provide interim housing for hundreds of homeless individuals, offering stability and support.

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The ultimate goal is for residents to become self-sufficient by eventually transitioning them into permanent housing.

Operated through a partnership with the local non-profit HomeFirst, the new community features 40 tiny homes. Each one is about 8-feet wide by 10-feet long with enough room for a small desk, a single bed, and a few shelves. Communal facilities include showers, a kitchen, laundry, a computer room, and space where residents can receive services.

"We provide a continuum of care of services, from outreach engagement in the encampments to emergency shelters, to supportive services, and finally, affordable housing," said HomeFirst CEO Andrea Urton.

More than 1,800 volunteers from 49 organizations had a hand in building the tiny homes through Habitat for Humanity.

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Newsom added, "The state vision to solve this crisis will be realized at the local level, project by project."

It's estimated more than 6,000 people are homeless in San Jose. This community is the first of its kind, built on land leased from the VTA, and funded through the State Homeless Emergency Aid Program.

"It's critical for us to have intermediate transitioning housing like this where we can build it quickly, get people housed quickly, and have a safe place for them to be three, four, or five months before they move on," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

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