Richmond Touts ‘Micropads’ For Homeless, But Unsure Where To Put Them

RICHMOND (KPIX 5) – An East Bay city is looking to take people off the streets by creating tiny homes for the homeless, but some say it won’t even make a dent in dealing with the issue.

Homeless Richmond resident Vernon Louisville told KPIX 5 he makes about $20 a day panhandling, if he’s lucky.

“It’s tough. It’s really tough,” said Louisville. “I don’t have any place to live now. I’m sleeping outside.”

He has lived on the streets for a year as he sits on a waiting list for low-income housing.

“There’s a one to five year wait list just to get on the wait list,” said Louisville.

Just a few streets down from where Louisville begged for money, Richmond and Contra Costa County leaders announced a plan to build stackable 160-square-foot “micropads” for the homeless.

“We’re excited about doing something like this micropad,” said Richmond Mayor Tom Butt.

The micropads have a bed, kitchen and bathroom. Whoever gets one will pay 30 percent of their income towards the housing.

“Individuals can stay in this housing as long as they need it,” said Contra Costa County homeless director Lavonna Martin.

As for where the micro pads will go, Richmond city leaders said they are looking for to locate them, but when pressed about possible locations, they admitted that so far they have none arranged.

“We haven’t identified locations we don’t want to speculate on locations so we don’t know but we’re going to start looking,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia.

Once they find a location, they say they have plans to build up to 50 micropads.

Louisville said he was skeptical about whether this would help the homeless.

“No, no, ain’t nearly enough that don’t even start to fix the problem,”

At 68, Louisville said he’d love to call one home, but wondered how much longer he has to wait.

“The money that they give me, you can barely live on that,” said Louisville. “Either you pay rent and you don’t eat or else you eat and you don’t pay rent. I choose to eat.”

More from Maria Medina
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