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Yuba County Built A Village Of Tiny Homes To Solve A Big Problem

14 Forward / Facebook

14 Forward / Facebook

A village of small houses for the homeless is now open in the city of Marysville.

The homes are upgraded Tuff Sheds, with blue, green or red exteriors. There are 20 of them, eight-by-14 feet, with no electricity and two cots inside.

Gwen Wallace is the site supervisor for Yuba County. She says the homes have no frills, but represent hope for a new life.

"People can stay 21 days as long as they're showing they're doing something to better themselves, say looking for a job or even getting medical help or we can help with  anything including help getting them an ID and stuff, whatever it takes to get to work and then getting into a house on their own," Wallace says.

A Yuba County employee is on-site to help the homeless find services.  

Robert Sands has been homeless for two years. He hopes to become a minister.

"When you're living on the road, and you've had to beg for money all the time and that's becoming against the law, so, a place like this is a lifesaver is actually what it is," Sands says.

Some of the homeless were evicted from their camps near the city's sewer ponds this spring. Attorneys for California Rural Legal Assistance pressured the City of Marysville and Yuba County to help the people who were forced to leave.

Yuba County Supervisor John Nicoletti says the city and county worked together.
"We realized the (Yuba County) Sheriff's Department had dedicated deputies to the homeless issues, that the Health and Human Services has a large number of folks from healthcare to childcare and schools and food stamps, all that stuff and we really did have this in our budget," says Nicoletti.

Wallace says anyone with a substance abuse problem is encouraged to quit, but addiction is not a barrier to housing. She says people may use drugs if they are at least 50 feet from the front gate.

"We're trying to give them time to adjust," Wallace says. "We even offer mental health comes over here. If they want to go into a program, rehab or something, we'll definitely help them right in."

The program costs $200,000 annually. So far, materials, monetary donations and grants total about $68,000.