Homeless shelters break ground in Palo Alto, Richmond

More than 200 people are expected to live at the Palo Alto site.

Two new homeless shelters in the Bay Area are under construction: a prefabricated project in Palo Alto for more than 200 people and a tiny home village in Richmond for more than a dozen young adults.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian applauded the project planned for near the Baylands at 1237 San Antonio Road this week at a groundbreaking ceremony, calling it a critical step toward bringing more of the county’s nearly 10,000 homeless residents indoors.

“We know interim shelter is only part of the solution, but we can’t allow folks to remain on our streets while they wait for permanent housing,” Simitian said in an e-mail.

The facility, which will have 88 “modular” units resembling shipping containers, is expected to open in early 2025, according to officials. It is expected to cost approximately $37 million, with $22 million coming from California’s $3.75 billion Homekey homeless housing program.

The remaining funds will come from the city, county, and private sources, including a $5 million donation from Silicon Valley billionaire developer and philanthropist John A. Sobrato. Sobrato’s foundation also contributed $5 million to the construction of a 204-unit modular shelter on Branham Lane and Monterey Road in San Jose.

Life Moves, a South Bay nonprofit, will run the site, providing supportive services with the goal of moving residents into permanent housing. Residents of the shelter, including families, will be able to stay for three to six months.

However, given the region’s severe shortage of affordable housing, finding residents long-term housing will likely be a continuing challenge. According to federal data, only about four out of every ten people staying in various shelter programs in Santa Clara County move on to permanent housing.

13 tiny homes for homeless young adults ages 18 to 24 are set to open in Richmond in the fall of 2024 at 175 23rd St. off Carlson Boulevard.

According to Tiny Village Spirit, an offshoot of a small East Bay nonprofit spearheading the project, as many as 125 youths in the city go without a roof over their heads each night. Homeless young adults will be able to stay in the tiny homes for up to two years and will be provided with case management services to assist them in finding permanent housing.

A team of University of San Francisco students is designing the small homes, which will be built by volunteers and decorated by local artists.

The shelter site will cost approximately $1 million to construct, with the majority of funding coming from private and religious donors, as well as a Contra Costa County grant.

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