Our Tour of the Tiny Home Villages Drives Home the Importance of Attainable Housing

AIA East Bay’s Design Tours Committee hosted a Tiny Homes Tour at Fairmont Navigation Center in San Leandro, CA on June 5, 2021, making it AIA East Bay’s first in-person event of the year. With regards to safety precautions and social distancing rules in place, the group toured the full site, including locations under construction and completed but uninhabited tiny homes. The tour was led by Firm Foundation and Shelterwerks, which allowed attendees to learn about the in’s and out’s of building a project like this, as well as ask any questions they had.

About the project: “The homelessness crisis facing the Bay Area is an epidemic on par with Covid. Many private and public groups are tackling this challenge in creative ways. Alameda County partnered with the private company, Firm Foundation Community Housing, to compile a team of designers and builders to come up with a solution. The result was the Tiny Home Village in San Leandro. The Village is comprised of 28 individual tiny homes and another six units housed within a renovated modular building (a quadruple-wide trailer) that had been previously used as office space. The homes have been designed to be ganged together (in pairs and groups of four, as shown in our site plan) or can be arranged to be completely separate. Utility connections, “pick points”, and structural enhancement have been incorporated into the units so that they can be craned onto the back of a truck and located elsewhere, as need arises. Each home features a private bathroom, a small kitchen and dining area, and a queen bed in a studio configuration where individuals or couples can live. A wending path connects the dwellings, painted in different colors to promote the concept of unity while avoiding feeling institutional.” [source]

Winston Win, the committee chair of Design Tours and one of the organizers for this event, highlighted that “a portion of the beds will be reserved specifically as medical recovery beds for homeless individuals who are convalescing after a medical procedure. This project was originally envisioned by the project sponsors as a single dormitory building, but the architects were able to pivot the project to comply with public health guidance during the pandemic to achieve the same bed-count in individual ‘tiny home’ units”. 

Attendees learned how transitional housing allows unsheltered individuals to stabilize their lives in a safe environment, access supportive services, apply for other benefits and employment that can help them apply for permanent affordable housing.

If you’re interested in joining the Design Tours committee to help plan great events such as this one, fill out the form here. Also be sure to take a look at our calendar for other upcoming events!

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