“The Oakland, California project will nearly double Alameda county’s capacity to serve homeless youth.”
by Sara Tiano
Ayear ago, the spot on Hegenberger Road in Oakland’s industrial district was but a barren parking lot. Today, it is an art-drenched neighborhood of ‘tiny homes’ created by a local nonprofit, the latest effort to address California’s youth homelessness crisis.
The 26 tiny homes, each measuring 8 feet by 10 feet, feature skylights, heated floors and custom Murphy beds that, when folded up, transform into a table. Each miniature house designed for one is painted in an array of bright colors and adorned with two full-wall murals draping the exterior, depicting everything from a serene moonlit mermaid scene to a bustling cityscape dotted with protest signs — all painted by local youth artists.
There are shared bathrooms and two community yurts: one filled with couches and armchairs like the common room of a college dorm, and the other a kitchen and dining space. Lines of colorful planter boxes snaking across the lot bear flowers, vegetables and fruit trees.
‘This village is a metaphor for everyone realizing their vision for a cohesive, copacetic environment for people to grow,’ said 20-year-old Sean McCreary, who developed the tiny home village project along with his peers at the nonprofit Youth Spirit Artworks.”