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EAST PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — With soaring real estate prices, and little supply of homes to occupy, East Palo Alto may allow homeowners to let people live in their garages and storage buildings.

“The housing crunch does not get any easier, it doesn’t get any less expensive. And we don’t want to end up with people going homeless,” East Palo Alto Councilmember Ruben Abrica told KPIX 5.

Garages and sheds would have to be converted and brought up to code, but it could free up living space for the 20 percent of homes there that are overcrowded.

“It’ll be more easy for people and families to be together,” said East Palo Alto resident Delfina Gonzalez, who wants to convert her two garages into rooms.

It’s a realty reality check for local regulations. Multiple families, and multiple people, are sharing buildings in order to make ends meet, but that raises a safety concern.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea, because there won’t be a lot of parking,” East Palo Alto resident Jamie Griffin said.

Neighbors are concerned that garage dwellers would lead to even more people moving in, and taking up all the parking spots on the street. Housing advocates say something has to be done to improve living conditions, and garages are a viable option.

The city council asked staff to work on ordinances and policy changes for the planning commission to review next month.

 

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