Nearly two years after Sonoma County supervisors began exploring the idea of creating a village of tiny houses for homeless people, their vision is on the cusp of becoming reality in northern Santa Rosa.
Development is moving forward for a village with at least 12 tiny houses, all for homeless veterans, on property the county owns at its sprawling administrative campus south of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. Supervisors paved the way this week when they signed off on a three-year ground lease to test the tiny homes concept at 665 Russell Avenue, a few blocks northwest from the smaller site originally slated for the project.
“We’re just on the home stretch here,” said Board of Supervisors chairwoman Shirlee Zane.
Known as Veterans Village, the project has been a long time coming: Supervisors first discussed the idea in the summer of 2015 and ultimately selected Community Housing Sonoma County, a Santa Rosa nonprofit, as the developer in June of last year.
The nonprofit in November secured about $1.9 million in county affordable housing money for development of the village, envisioned as a new approach to alleviate two of the county’s most chronic problems: homelessness and a dearth of housing units.
The local rate of homelessness, 56 per 10,000 people, is more than three times the national rate, and preliminary results from county’s 2017 census identified more than 2,800 homeless individuals, including 211 veterans.
If successful, Zane hopes the county can replicate the tiny homes project on other public…
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