California to pay homeowners to build tiny homes in backyards

August 3, 2023


The state of California is reviving a program that previously paid homeowners up to $40,000 to build tiny homes in their backyards, an attempt to address the state’s housing shortage. [Business Insider]

In late June, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a state budget that includes an allocation of $50 million toward grants incentivizing property owners to build accessory dwelling units. The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) is in charge of administering the program. CalHFA has yet to set the guidelines for the tiny home grants property owners can receive.

California’s previous program had a $100 million budget. It gave homeowners grants of up to $40,000 to construct at least one additional housing unit on their property. The funding was expected to be distributed by the end of 2022, resulting in a projected total of 2,500 new housing units.

Presently, nearly 20% of homes constructed in California are accessory dwelling units, according to state Department of Housing data. 

Building an accessory dwelling unit in California can cost tens of thousands of dollars to several hundred thousand dollars. Financing for tiny homes is difficult to obtain.

Most Californians who have built an accessory dwelling unit in their backyard live in wealthy areas, according to research conducted by the Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation. Researchers say the state program could assist lower and moderate-income California homeowners construct accessory dwelling units. 

It is unclear when the application period for tiny home grants will open.

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$40,000 wouldn’t even cover the city building permits and fees so what good is this false help plan. Just another kick the can down the road solution.

Worse that kick the can … a “grant” con, disingenuous, phony baloney, nuthin’ burger non solution … agree entirely … by Gavin the photo op meister

Would be better to go over the land use and building codes. Examples: 1) over designed septic tank and leach field requirements eliminate potential sites; 2) electric services requirements drive costs up (clothes driers outlet, bathroom outlets, oven/range outlet, service and lights everywhere); 3) home fire sprinklers.

We are supposed to do more with less, and yet codes require that our homes are designed for excessive consumption of power, water, sewer.

I agree.

This $40k idea seems like a kind of “shell game” to me.

Someone else’s money is always easy to spend. Last month maintaining our public roads has been displaced by provide housing for the homeless. This should become national news. They will come as they already have due to our elected’ s generosity.

Coincidently, the discussion about a 1/2 cent sales tax is here again as the new committed funding for roads.

Yeah, cities can charge an additional $40,000 in fees and assessments to add to their already bloated salaries.

Gotta cover those recent ridiculous raises.

The regulations surrounding building homes in this State are too burdensome and reduce supply – we need more townhomes, duplexes, triplexes, and apartment buildings in a 4-over-1 configuration to facilitate mixed use neighborhoods. This program doesn’t go far enough – more financing, legalize public housing, and most importantly abolish restrictive zoning to unlock the free market.

I agree! Let’s build 40 story apartments, with 6 or 10 in a large lot. We can call it, I don’t know, perhaps “the Projects”? Government housing has worked so very well for other cities…..

We have a lot of lessons learned from the past 70 years, the most obvious solution is to involve local governments in design and construction and then selling the units to lower middle income households or non-profits who would manage the properties. The goal is not to decrease housing costs by imposing restrictions, but by increasing the overall supply in our community.

Have always liked the high density38+ DU per acre developments in Santa Maria (College at Bradley) and Beverly Glen at San Vicente in West LA. Attractive high density can be done and form effective nodes for mass transit.

If you force the “free market” to do anything, then it’s not really free.

None of what I said was about forcing the free market to do anything, sure subsidies influence the free market, but we’ve been doing that for over a century. Unfortunately this site is teeming with anti-capitalist NIMBYs who believe the government should explicitly forbid new housing construction (or make so many regulations it’s impossible to do). I believe in free markets, and that REQUIRES little to no zoning; do you believe?

The “free” market never existed not now, not anytime, not anywhere. Economies are all systems of distributing payola.

Of all the dumb, stupid, idiotic, ideas coming out of Sacramento. Nothing new under the sun. – Solomon

This is unconstitutional as hell….

How so? Please explain. Thank you.

There goes the neighborhood.

Great! Free money to build an AirBnB and VRBO!