A potential solution to the homeless problem in Sacramento is parked outside City Hall this week.
The "MicroPAD" is a pre-fabricated, 160-square foot residence that has a bed, kitchenette, restroom, shower and closet and runs on a generator.
City Councilman Jeff Harris says homeless people might be able to rent units using vouchers and other government assistance.
"It's fire-sprinkled, heat and air, air exchanger, it even has an ultraviolet light under the bed to kill bedbugs," says Harris. "This thing is well-thought-out. So, it's completely different idea than talking about a tent city, which is very short term and very transitional and does not acclimate people to the safety and security of being indoors."
Shawn Still took a tour of the unit Monday. She says she is homeless and lives in her truck.
"Yeah, I'd take it. If it was available, I would take it."
It's not available, yet, but Harris says it might be if the City and County of Sacramento decide to put more money from vouchers and federal funds toward helping the homeless get off the streets.
"Legal issues, health issues, substance abuse issues, trying to get job training: all of those things we know how to deal with and we have service providers who are good at it. It's just, once again, assembling all the pieces so that we can get people stabilized, get the services they need, move them into housing."
The company has installed more than 300 units in San Francisco and says the cost is about half of the $400,000 required to build an apartment there. Harris says the 7th and H low-income housing building cost $375,000 per unit.
He also says the City would lease the units and provide them to the homeless.
The homes are stackable --as many as twelve on top of one another, according to the manufacturer, Panoramic Interests.
In case you're wondering, the company says, once installed, the units exceed earthquake requirements under the California Building Code.
Harris says if the City can secure land for the MicroPADs, the first one could be installed by the end of the year.
Rhonda Smith says a unit would be perfect to help her son.
"He can't keep work because he's homeless and because he's homeless he, he gets violated, and he needs a permanent residence. I think something like this would be perfect for him," says Smith.
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