Newsom Built 1,200 Tiny Homes to Help California Homeless Problem- One Year Later They Still Remain Vacant

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Jul 06, 2024

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom is certainly a take-action politician. However, not everyone agrees that his actions are what’s best for the state of California.

The controversial leader has made several big changes to the Golden State over the past few years, but one thing remains the same: California is still struggling to house its 180,000 residents living without homes. While Gov. Newsom did present one idea, it doesn’t seem to be working.

Gov. Newsom's Tiny Home Plan

In March 2023, Newsom proudly announced that he was going to build 1,200 tiny homes throughout the state to help thousands of residents living on the streets.

A photograph of several of the tiny houses for Gov. Newsom's homing the homeless project

Source: @Good Morning America/YouTube

The plan was to build the tiny houses in the Golden State cities with the highest populations of people living without homes: 350 houses in Sacramento, 500 in Los Angeles, 200 in San Jose, and 150 in San Diego.

Helping California's Homeless Get Back on Their Feet

Newsom explained that these homes would offer temporary residence to those in need while they find a permanent place to live; then the next group of homeless California residents would move in.

A man wears a black jacket while sitting on the side of the street with a black dog wrapped in a red blanket

Source: Nick Fewings/Unsplash

He also noted that building hundreds of houses in each city would encourage a sense of community and stability for those living there. There would even be onsite counselors to help people find apartments, apply for jobs, and stay sober.

Over a Year Later, No Houses Have Been Built

The plan certainly sounded promising, but over a year later, the tiny houses still haven’t been built. Originally, Newsom claimed they would be ready by Fall 2023, now it looks like they won’t be completed until 2025.

A photograph of an empty lot with the Los Angeles skyline in the background

Source: Reddit

While it’s now public knowledge that the project has been delayed, the governor has yet to explain why. At this point, no one really knows what’s going on.

Theories as to Why Gov. Newsom's Tiny Home Project Isn't Working

There are, of course, a few theories as to why this apparently fantastic plan has not come to fruition.

A photograph of the inside of one of Gov. Newsom's tiny homes for the homeless

Source: Reddit

Some say that it’s because the state has yet to allocate funding to the cities to start construction, while others argue it’s because the cities can’t find appropriate areas to build the hundreds of homes.

The Tiny Homes Only Take 90 Minutes to Build

Those criticizing the governor and the delays in the tiny home plan argue that there’s essentially no reason for the homes not to be completed as they each only take 90 minutes to build.

A photograph of dozens of tiny homes being built for the homeless in California

Source: @KCRA3/YouTube

However, Gov. Newsom has explained that even though the construction is quick, because the homes are provided by the state, they need to be inspected before and after being built to ensure they’re up to code with vapor resistant light fixtures, emergency exit lighting, etc.


Gov. Newsom Has Spent Far More Money Than California Has

As previously mentioned, the governor has not explained why the project is at a stand still, and of the many theories, the most commonly accepted is that Newsom is simply out of money.

A faceless person hands over hundreds of dollars in cash to another person

Source: Freepik

The governor has famously spent far more money than California has since he took office in 2018. In fact, in 2017, the state had a $1.6 billion deficit, but now, in 2024, the Golden State has an almost unbelievable deficit of $68 billion. 


The Tiny Home Project Will Cost California $1 Billion

Although the homes are tiny, employing companies to design them and build them, finding enough land for hundreds together, and staffing the communities is wildly expensive.

Hands holding several pages of collected data with a tablet

Source: Freepik

It’s been estimated that Newsom’s tiny home project will cost the state of California a whopping $1 billion when all is said and done. And as Newsom is already in the hot seat for overspending, he may be pausing the project to get back in his constituents good graces.


Gov. Newsom Spends $3 Billion a Year on Mental Health Services for the Homeless

It’s also important to note that the tiny home project is just one small part of the governor’s plan to solve the homeless crisis in California.

A man wearing a dark jacket and blue jeans lays on the side of the sidewalk

Source: Jon Tyson/Unsplash

Gov. Newsom also wants to reallocate billions of dollars that are currently used to help housed California residents struggling with mental wellness issues to fund mental health programs and additional shelters for the homeless.


California's Mental Health Services Act and Prop 1

California’s Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) uses its $3 billion budget to ensure all residents of the state have access to mental health care. However, Newsom believes that this money can be better spent helping the homeless experiencing mental health struggles and addiction.

The logo for the California Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) next to a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

Source: California Mental Health Services

The governor proposed Prop 1 last year, which would reallocate 60% of MHSA’s funding for homeless assistance. And while it may seem like a noble cause, the majority of those working within the MHSA argue that they need that money to continue helping the millions of California residents they already work with.


Meanwhile, California's Homeless Population Is Growing

The MHSA is certainly not denying that the homeless crisis is a very real and pressing problem, they just want the governor to find the funding to help them outside of their existing budget.

Homeless people rest on a public sidewalk in Los Angeles, California

Source: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Realistically, no one can refute the fact that California’s homeless situation is absolutely dire. As of 2024, one-third of the entire homeless population in the US resides in California, and the number of people living without homes is growing every day.


Some Say the Delay Is Nothing to Worry About

Gov. Newsom is no stranger to criticism, and it’s challenging to look at what’s happening (or rather what’s not happening) with the tiny home project and not be disappointed in the governor’s lack of follow through.

A photograph of several tiny homes ready to be built for California's homeless

Source: @KUSI News/YouTube

However, some say that the delay is nothing to worry about. Government programs take time to complete, and even though it’s behind schedule, as promised, there will be 1,200 new homes for California’s homeless in the very near future.