CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Thursday in Chula Vista to celebrate the opening a new homeless shelter that’s the first of its kind in South County.

Called the Chula Vista Village at Otay, the new site is a bridge shelter designed to help people transition from homelessness to permanent housing while in a more dignified environment compared to traditional congregate facilities.

The facility is made up of 65 individual 10 feet by 10 feet “tiny homes” that can house up to two people. The property also includes on-site bathroom, shower and laundry facilities.

“Instead of having an open tent, what we’re having is a tiny home community that gives individuals safety and security for themselves, and even gives them an ability to bring in a pet,” Chula Vista Mayor John McCann said at the ceremony. “So once they have that all covered, I think that gives them the next opportunity to be able to get care and get off the street.”

Those staying at the shelter will have access to programs, supportive services and case managers to help them transition to get on a path to permanent housing.

“This is an example of how it is going to get better,” said State Assemblymember David Alvarez, who represents parts of Chula Vista. “We are going to have expectations that cities, just like Chula Vista, follow the lead to make sure that we are actually housing people and that we are successful with the housing dollars that we put forward.”

Vista Mayor John Franklin attended the ceremony. He said he’s looking for ideas to help the more than 350 people who are homeless in his city.

“We’ve offered them all shelter, only 6% of the time do they accept,” he said. “We need to build shelters that people want to live in — that they find some security and safety. This concept of having an individual space may provide that. I think it’s innovative — that’s why I wanted to come check it out.”

McCann says the shelter was four years in the making and cost $5 million. City Net, a non-profit homeless services organization, will be running the facility.

All of the residents in the new shelter will be placed by references from the city’s Homeless Outreach Team. The first move-ins are expected early next week.

McCann said yearly operating costs will be around $1.5 million, which will be covered by ongoing state funding.