Tiny homes delivered to help homeless in Hayward, Castro Valley

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- A church in the Hayward and Castro Valley area took a delivery on Thursday that was tiny and huge at the same time.

After two years of fundraising, and two months of construction, six tiny homes were delivered to the parking lot of the First Presbyterian Church of Hayward.

"When I got out of my car this morning, I saw the forklift and almost, I was like 'don't cry right now,'" said Chizu Buckalew, who directs the churches' effort to house the homeless.

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"Here's the sink right here for dishes and we have a heater right here," she said.

Each tiny home has about 157 square feet of interior space with a small kitchen area, and a full bath. A sofa sleeper will also be included. A $200,000 block grant from Alameda County funded the project along with a lot of local good will.

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"We've had over $200,000 in donated labor and materials," she said. This will be transitional housing, where the homeless can stay for up to 18 months. Recipients will have to have a job, because they will have to pay rent.

"So, it's going to start at $200 dollars for four months, then go to $400, $600 then $800," according to Buckalew.

The church won't profit from the rent. After utilities are covered, the rest of the money will be put into savings, and returned to the client to pay first and last month's rent when they find permanent housing. The church knows this is not a solution to the housing crisis in Hayward and Castro Valley, but says it's a start.

"I love this work. I want people to be housed. I want people to have dignity in where they live and feel proud of who they are. I think this is one step in that direction," said Buckalew.

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