By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — With local rent prices through the roof, one local builder says he has a solution to Sacramento’s affordable housing crisis: offer tiny, inexpensive, apartments to Downtown’s working people.

Apartments would go for $600 a month, but this downtown building isn’t catering to low-income earners.

Tim Bourke is a local barista, making minimum wage plus tips—pretty much, working to pay rent, he says.

“The increasing rent is getting tougher and tougher to live in downtown,” he says.

But the solution to Tim’s problem may lie next door, at the century-old Golden Hotel.

The owner, Lynard Khan, is converting 26 small hotel rooms into apartment units that feel like hostels, for $600 a month. Meanwhile, down the street at 800-J, a top one-bedroom unit goes for about $2,000 a month.

“People nowadays don’t need a lot of space,” Khan says.

Khan says he’s creating a Sacramento market for “micro-units,” tiny monthly rentals, for cheap.

But here, affordable living doesn’t mean subsidized housing for low-income renters. There’s no minimum income requirement to get in. Anyone who earns approximately three times the price of rent can qualify to live in this historic building. Lynard calls them “working people,” like Tim.

“They want something that’s close. They wouldn’t need a car,” he says.

Swap out a car for convenience, and the bare bones basics: 150-square-foot units, snug enough for a sink, microwave, mini- fridge, and a pull out bed.

And if you want to use the bathroom, it’s down the hall, through a small door, but you’ll have to share it, with three other people.

“It’s definitely part of the new face of downtown,” Tim says.

For now, Tim’s holding out hope for rent control legislation in Sacramento. It would limit the amount landlords could hike up rent rates, and make it a lot easier for him to save money one day.

Khan hopes to begin renting the units this fall, just in time for the opening of a new barber shop and restaurant on the first floor.

  1. Phil Tevlin says:

    Whle I lived in Seattle, a builder created several 200 sq ft apartments in one building…sold out in hours. Yes there is a need for small units.

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