Sacramento Built 100 Tiny Homes for the Unhoused. Why Are They Still Empty?

At Florin and Power Inn roads in South Sacramento, 100 tiny homes for the unhoused stand empty and untouched. Just beyond the fence that guards these barren ‘safe havens’ is a sprawling encampment of homeless people desperately looking for shelter.

It’s the ultimate taunt for Sacramento’s unhoused community and the nonprofits that serve them. Frustration is growing over the $7.6-million project, announced nearly one year ago, which has faced multiple delays and unforeseen costs. 

Each home is rather simple, with a hide-a-bed, a power source, and a small heating and air conditioning unit. What could possibly be taking so long?

According to the county, the initial delay came when the site operator City Net changed the design plan. Then some contractors backed out while supply chain issues caused material delays. Right now, the county is scrambling to get permits for water, sewer and electrical hook-ups.

This project was supposed to be done last July. The target date was moved to November, then March. Now — maybe June?

Homeless people frequently approach the homes to ask when they’ll be complete. As the project languishes, the priority almost seems to be keeping the homeless out.  

In addition to the fence, the county is paying $500,000 for a private security firm to guard the row of vacant houses. Strict security measures around the facility were a must in order to get enough county supervisors on board with the plan. 

Local officials are asking for patience. This was the county’s first experience with this kind of project and there’s been a learning curve. They say they’ve gained experience through the process and that future projects will be completed much faster.

Let’s hope so. The county plans to build another 45 tiny homes this summer.