‘Tiny homes’ for working homeless headed to Castro Valley

Builders who donated their time Monday helped put the finishing touches on six new homes for people with no place to live.

They are called tiny homes and are 157 square feet in size. 

Each one will have its own bathroom with a shower, and a kitchen.

That's different than the tiny homes on San Jose and the cabins in Oakland, which have communal facilities.

"We really want people to have dignity. To have a home, heat, running water. So we want people to feel like this is their home," said Chi Zu, who directs homeless services for the First Presbyterian Church of Hayward. 

The homes are expected to be transported this week to the church’s parking lot, which is located in Castro Valley.

The church is looking for people who have jobs, but are still homeless. 

"They are going to be paying some rent, but at the end they will get it back. We want them to get used to paying money for rent," said Zu.

Those working on the project are hoping this isn't one and done— but that other churches in the area allow tiny homes on their property. 

"If they can get people out of their cars and into these homes for 18 months and get their rent saved for them so they can get to more permanent housing, it is the perfect solution," said Cheryl O'Connor, executive director of HomeAid Northern California. 

The project also includes a variety of builders, and contractors donating time and materials.

The church still needs to install plumbing and electricity. The homes should be ready for move-in in February.

Case managers will be there to help lead the new residents to permanent housing within 18 months.