Volunteers build tiny unauthorized homes for homeless people in San José
SAN JOSE, California – A group of volunteers in San José are building tiny shelters for the homeless and hope they don’t get caught. They do it in an undisclosed location, without a license, hoping that the benefit outweighs the cost.
“So these are shelters against the elements, that’s what we’re building here,” says Jesi Faust of Feed the Block.
They build them with virtually no experience.
But this group from Feed the Block, Hero Tent and Black Outreach, felt it was imperative to take ownership of housing for the homeless.
They say the city of San José is just not doing enough.
“It’s not just a feeling, but I feel like it’s obvious to the hundreds of homeless people who are here,” says Yusuf Labib of Black Outreach.
But city officials say they are making progress. They operate five mini-house sites, housing 400 former homeless people.
And they say they are considering a sixth location.
As for the project, Housing Department spokesperson Jeff Scott wrote: “Trespassing on public land without a use permit is illegal. A better way to help is by donating to nonprofit organizations that work to provide housing for the homeless. “
The group says they won’t be discouraged: the need is just too great.
“But we’re not just going to let the city bring them down. If the city doesn’t want them here, then the city should provide housing for people who need it,” Faust said.
For this project, everyone gives their time. Materials are also given.
Each of the three shelters they have built so far have cost about $ 3,500.
“It took hours of planning, a ridiculous amount of work and dedication from our volunteers,” says Kiana Simmons of Hero Tent.
The structures do not have plumbing or electricity, but they do have insulation and locks.
The hope is to give people security, at least for a while.
“It’s kind of a reflection of something I wish someone could do for me when I was homeless,” says Brodie Storey of Feed the Block.
These shelters should be completed within the next two weeks and ready to welcome the first residents. And when that happens, the groups say they would like to raise funds and build more.
For more information on Feed the Block, visit their Instagram page.