Several months ago, local developer Panoramic Interests introduced a creative solution to address San Francisco’s homelessness crisis. Their proposed MicroPAD is a very small housing unit that can be built quickly, affordably and at a scale that could make a real impact. For two weeks starting October 31, the public will have the opportunity to walk inside one of these homes and experience it themselves.
What is the MicroPAD?
It stands for Prefabricated Affordable Dwelling. Built on a steel frame, each unit is 160 square feet and manufactured at an offsite factory. This is known as modular construction and it’s a much faster and more efficient way to build housing compared to traditional, 100% site-built construction.
Where and how will these be built?
These units can be located anywhere, but are most effective in dense urban areas. Because the MicroPAD itself is built offsite, the site preparation work can be done concurrently. The homes arrive at the construction site fully furnished, ready to be assembled and stacked. This can cut construction timelines by 50%.
How many people are homeless in San Francisco?
According to the San Francisco Point-in-Time Homeless Count and Survey, there were 6,686 homeless individuals in San Francisco in 2015. That same year, the City spent $241 million on homeless services, $112 million of which funds supportive housing. Conventional construction costs for affordable housing are a big impediment to building housing for the homeless. The MicroPAD could dramatically reduce this obstacle.
When and where can I see a MicroPAD?
Panoramic Interests will park (literally) a MicroPAD outside their office at 9th and Mission Streets for two weeks starting Monday, October 31st. The demonstration unit will be open to the public to view from 11:00 AM – 6:30 PM Monday through Friday and 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM on Saturdays. SFHAC members can get a private tour on Wednesday, November 9 at 5:00 PM. Following the tour, SFHAC members will receive a free drink voucher to use at BCC, the adjacent bar.
Housing needs innovation more than ever. Construction costs continue to rise and support from federal and state governments have dwindled. We need to find solutions that reduce these costs and require less public subsidies. The MicroPAD is a promising idea.
Images: Panoramic Interests