Amy Appleton and Steve Birdlebough, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
High quality factory-built housing has been popular in Japan since the 1960s and has been widely used to expedite housing construction in Europe for over a decade. Unfortunately, too many of us here think of a run-down trailer park when someone mentions modular housing.
In the light of our ongoing housing shortage, worsened by the wildfires, new approaches such as assembly line construction are needed to speed the delivery of enough places for people to live here.
Factories can complete four to eight living units per day, whereas the on-site construction of a home takes close to a year.
Many fire victims now in hotels or Federam Emergency Management Agency trailers must find affordable housing elsewhere by April of 2019 — likely an impossible task for most. Factory-built living units may be the key to make timely housing available for these people.
Many fire victims have been taken in by family or friends. But life in a crowded home can be wearing. An extra factory-built room or granny unit to accommodate them could save relationships.
Also, we need to bring back the important members of our workforce who are now commuting from distant places. And how will we accommodate the construction workers needed to rebuild? More housing and shared housing are what thousands of people need.
Santa Rosa’s commendable goal is to enable speedy replacement of the 3,000 homes in the city that burned,and construction of more dwellings to restore the housing market. But with fewer than 100 building permits issued since the fires, little rebuilding is likely to finish by April 2019. Many more housing options are needed right away.