SOLEDAD — Two years ago, Correctional Training Facility (CTF) in Soledad invited guests to tour a new microhomes building program.
Despite a pause in production due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the first three homes are about to be delivered to a transitional homeless community.
The program was the result of a partnership with the nonprofit group R-3 (Rehabilitation, Restoration and Respite) and Lowe’s. The home-improvement company contributed $1.5 million in building materials for the project, with a development plan to construct 60 units of 400-square-feet microhomes.
The program was off to a promising start, but when Covid-19 hit in early 2020, the program was paused.
“We didn’t just wait to see what would happen,” said David Mena, vocational vice principal at CTF. “We took a proactive approach and revamped the construction dimensions of the micro-homes to better meet the needs of those facing housing insecurity.”
The Career Technical Education programs involved in the project provide incarcerated students with industry-recognized certification and an employment pathway to a livable wage.
“This program gives the (inmates) a valuable skill, the potential to earn a life-sustaining wage as well as the ability to give back to the community,” said Keith Thompson, principal at CTF.
Currently there are three models in production at CTF: 400-, 600- and 800-square-foot microhomes. The larger model is an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant home. Each microhome has the capacity to house up to two people.
“A microhome offers homeless people their own private and safe space. They can move in and lock the door when they need privacy. They can feel safe after feeling vulnerable on the city streets or in a shelter,” said acting Warden L.A. Martinez. “This program provides the incarcerated population with an opportunity to learn building trades while also providing them with a means to give back to society.”
The first three microhomes will be placed in a transitional homeless community, part of a joint venture between the City of Salinas and San Benito County. Each home will have electricity, overhead lighting, a kitchen, a bathroom, shower and a central heating unit.
Article submitted by Lt. Wil Landrum.