Sacramento (Business Journal) — In a bold new solution to the city’s homeless problem, Democrats have launched a program to build thousands of tiny 4-bed replicas of the California governor’s mansion that will initially cost $4,000-$7,000 each. Critics say that cost could escalate.
Unveiled at last night’s City Council meeting, the plan was immediately challenged by homeless advocates who said the tiny mansions must be bigger.
“I don’t care how much you paid for the architectural plans, you can’t put four people together in a building that not even Gavin Newsom would touch with a 10-foot pole,” said advocate Krystl Meph, who is concerned about privacy and conflict between people sleeping in such close quarters. “They need their own space.”
Thankfully, council members agreed that the tiny mansions must be bigger and raised the initial cost estimate to $10,000 each.
“For emergency shelter in the winter or when it’s blazing hot outside, we can get people into these tiny mansions quickly and relatively cheaply,” City Councilman Jeff Harris said.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg acknowledged the point, and noted that the mansions would have to be insulated, heated, and cooled.
“Not even my lawnmower wants to live in a tiny metal mansion with no air conditioning,” Steinberg said, proposing a new estimate of $20,000 for a 2-bed version.
City Manager Howard Chan said the government procurement process would add an additional $5,000, and building crews would need to be paid the prevailing union wage.
“The real cost is probably $30,000 before the non-profit community even enters the conversation,” Chan said. “And don’t forget that privacy is a Constitutional right, so each homeless person will need their own mansion.”
“District 3 probably has 1,000 people sleeping outdoors tonight, maybe as many as 2,000 in my district,” said Councilman Harris. “How soon can we get moving?”
Steinberg said county data indicates that more than 5,500 Sacramento residents experience homelessness on any given night, and security is an issue for the proposed townships.
“We can’t expect people to sleep comfortably without locked doors and soundproofed walls,” Steinberg said. “I call your $30K and raise another $5,000.”
Councilwoman Angelique Ashby entered into the official record a schematic of housing that Democrats provided to their plantation residents in the 1800’s, and proposed tiny mansions with at least two rooms.
“I cannot, in good conscience, provide my constituents with quarters that fall below the standards of 19th century slave housing,” Ashby said, raising the minimum cost to $50,000. “And where do we expect their dogs to sleep?”
Mr. Chan concurred, and pointed out that any location with a couple thousand mansions also needs a few toilets with 24-hour security and at least one supervised injection station stocked with enough illegal drugs to accommodate the clientele.
“If we roll out this program statewide, California can fix the homeless problem for only $537 million a month,” said Chan.