Volunteers in San Jose are building tiny homes to house homeless

Volunteers for Habitat For Humanity are building houses here in San Jose, but not your typical housing construction project.

They are building tiny one-room houses--for homeless people.

"Giving back a little bit. I've been fortunate and feels good to give back to the community," said Donnie Hudson, a volunteer from Santa Clara.

The City of San Jose recently has broken ground on two sites including one in the northern part of town on Valley Transportation Authority land.

Each lot will have 40 tiny, or bridge homes, as the city calls them.

The city is installing plumbing for community bathrooms. Each unit has just a bed and a desk. Social workers will be on site.

"People who will eventually live here are likely to be on the streets or along our creeks and waterways right now," said Ragan Henninger, San Jose deputy housing director Each resident will be here only a few months, while awaiting permanent housing.

"They may have a health condition or a job loss that made them lose their home. And so we will bring them here, resolve their issues while working on providing that permanent home," said Henninger.

San Jose now has more than 6,000 homeless people.

Robert Aguirre, once homeless himself, and now an advocate, says the tiny houses plan is just too little too late.

"It's a very small effort the city has put forward to solve a very large problem. If they were truly serious they would be looking at things on a grander scale," he said.

But San Jose's plan is similar to the Tuff Shed communities in Oakland, where many residents have gotten off the street and into permanent housing.

The city says the first wave of homeless people should be able to move into these tiny homes by November.