The state of California has awarded Monterey County $8 million to address homeless encampments, particularly in the Pajaro River area of Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

The grant, announced June 14, will fund the creation of a “micro-village” of 34 tiny homes in Watsonville, along with a navigation center to provide homeless services and a pathway to permanent housing.

Once residents are out of the Pajaro riverbed, the Pajaro Regional Flood Management Agency will begin restoration of the riverbed channel. The relocation is “critical” not only for the health and safety of the residents, but also for a flood risk management project.

The tiny homes will be built by Diginity Moves, which has completed similar projects across the state in the cities of Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and more. They plan to build on land rented from Westview Presbyterian Church in Watsonville.

Monterey County will work with Santa Cruz County’s Health and Human Services and the city of Watsonville on the project. They expect to start the project in a few months.

Monterey is one of 23 cities and counties around the state to receive a grant through the Encampment Resolution Funding Program. The program awarded almost $200 million in this round of funding.

Deidre Foley is an intern at Bay City News and an MA candidate at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, where she specializes in data journalism and health & science reporting. Previously she was managing editor for the San Francisco Foghorn and has bylines in the NYCity News Service, Byklner and the Nagazasshi. Deidre is interested in using data and visuals to tell social justice and human interest stories.