Last year, homelessness in L.A. County increased by 13%, making the need for shelters and supportive housing that much greater.
To help address the problem, the city of Los Angeles is building "tiny home villages" in North Hollywood. The first one opened earlier this week and is located on Chandler Boulevard in NoHo.
“There are 39 units, and there are 75 beds. Each unit is 64 square feet. Within those 64 square feet, there are two beds. There is heat, light, air conditioning, there is shelving, storage space underneath, and there is a front door that locks," said founder and CEO of Hope of The Valley Rescue Mission, Ken Craft. "Our goal and objective are once somebody comes here, we have case managers and housing navigators. We will work with them and do everything in our power to help them break free from poverty and homelessness.”
One of the benefits of the tiny home community is that there is outdoor space for clients to interact.
“They can meet with case managers, housing navigators, and mental health experts. We’re going to have washers and dryers; there will be five washers and five dryers where clients can do their own laundry, which is wonderful. We have a hygiene trailer that has five showers, five toilets, five sinks, and one of them is for those who might have disabilities,” added Craft.
Tiny home villages are different from the congregate setting, primarily because they are individual units.
“In the congregate settings at the North Hollywood shelter or Van Nuys shelter, everyone has a cubicle that they live in. But, everyone is still together under the same roof. Here, there is independence,” said Craft.
L.A. City Council member from the Second District, Paul Kerkorian, says Los Angeles is a very built-out community, and unused pieces of property are difficult to come by.
“In my district, we have identified two additional sites that we are going to use for cabin communities like this one. So we will have three altogether, in addition to the two congregate bridge home shelters that we’ve already opened in my district. So when we’re done with all that work, we will have enough shelter capacity for every person in my district who is living in a tent or a sidewalk,” said Kerkorian.
Craft believes future occupants will be happy to live in the tiny home community.
“Those that are homeless right now are living in encampments, under bridges, on dirt lots, but will be able to come and have a place that is their own and will have all the resources they need to get back on their feet. Typically they will stay here for four to six months, and in that period, we should be able to find permanent and or permanent support of housing to help them end their homelessness,” added Craft.
Construction on the second tiny home village is already underway and is expected to open this summer.
You can find more information about the tiny home villages and ways to support this effort by going to hopeofthevalley.org/tinyhomes.