SAN JOSE, Calif. - A group of volunteers in San Jose are building tiny shelters for the homeless and hoping they don't get caught. They're doing it in an undisclosed location, without permits, hoping the benefit outweighs the cost.
"So these are weather shelters, that's what we're building out here," says Jesi Faust with Feed the Block.
They're building them with practically no experience.
But this group from Feed the Block, Hero Tent and Black Outreach, felt it was imperative to take housing for the homeless into their own hands.
They say the city of San Jose simply isn't doing enough.
"That is not just a feeling, but I feel like it is evident by the many hundreds of unhoused people that are around here," says Yusuf Labib with Black Outreach.
But city officials say they are making strides. They're operating five tiny home sites, housing 400 formerly homeless individuals.
And they say they're considering a sixth location.
As for this project, Housing Department Spokesman Jeff Scott wrote, "Encroaching on public land without a use permit is illegal. A better way to help is to donate to nonprofits that work to provide housing for the homeless."
The group says they won't be deterred: the need is simply too great.
"But we're not just going to let the city take them down. If the city doesn't want them here then the city should be providing housing to the people who need it," says Faust.
For this project, everyone donates their time. The materials are donated too.
Each of the three shelters they've built so far has cost about $3,500.
"Hours of planning went into this, a ridiculous amount of work and dedication by our volunteers," says Kiana Simmons of Hero Tent.
The structures don't have plumbing or power, but they do have insulation and locks.
The hope is to give people security, at least for awhile.
"It's kind of reflective of something I wish someone would have been able to do for me when I was homeless," says Brodie Storey of Feed the Block.
These shelters should be complete in the next two weeks and ready for the first residents to move in. And when that happens, the groups says they'd like to raise money and build some more.
For more information on Feed the Block, visit their Instagram page.