Ocean County homeless advocates are hoping to bring an idea that's increasing in popularity on the west coast right here to the Jersey shore.

Tom O'Malley with 'Catholics and Friends With A Heart for the Homeless' presented the idea of building micro-housing units instead of a massive shelter to the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders this week.

O'Malley described the micro-houses as 4 by 8 feet 144 square foot structures that can be individually constructed or purchased pre-made. "You can put quite a few of them on one acre and they cost anywhere from $15 to $18,000 depending on how much you want to put into them," he explained.

O'Malley said they'll be raising funds to buy the units through the support of parishes in the Trenton Diocese, Catholic Charities, businesses, civic groups and houses of worship of other faiths. "We have our post office box we're up and running," he said. "We have our account and we're in the process of compiling a form letter and we'll have mass mailings all over."

He said they're also seeking land donations to place the units but they're not looking to place them in residential neighborhoods. "These won't be on main street. These will be adjacent to maybe business parks or in industrial parks near areas that are accessible to bus service and so fourth," O'Malley explained.

O'Malley said they're motivated by thoughts of the people who have to sleep in tents and sleeping bags outside because they have no place to live. He also expressed the irony of Ocean County having 7 animal shelters but no significant shelter for humans. O'Malley offers his personal phone number 732-279-9805 for people seeking more information about the proposal.