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A village with micro-houses for the homeless has appeared in Los Angeles: what is it like to live on 6 sq. meters

In Los Angeles (California), a small village of Hope of the Valley appeared with small houses (6 square meters) for the homeless. Now they have at least a small but their own housing. The edition told in more detail Yahoo!

Photo: Shutterstock

Tiny houses are touted as a solution to all kinds of housing needs - an affordable option in expensive big cities and an ease for people looking to get rid of the clutter of their lives. They are increasingly used as a homeless shelter in other California cities, including San Jose and Sacramento, and nationally in Seattle, Washington, Minneapolis, and Des Moines, Iowa.

The Chandler Street Village was built and funded by Los Angeles in an emergency response to the worsening homelessness crisis. As of 2020, there were 66 homeless people in Los Angeles County, up 400% from the previous year.

Over 150 people were left homeless throughout the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he plans to set aside $ 000 billion this year to create more housing for those who do not own it, while addressing mental health and substance abuse issues.

On the subject: Homeless tents in San Francisco are more expensive than renting an apartment in the city

The pandemic has forced more residents to take to the streets as shelters reduce opportunities to maintain social distancing. Meanwhile, measures taken in 2016 in Los Angeles to fund up to 10 auxiliary housing units took too long to gain traction, and homeless advocates demanded that officials act immediately. The city and county began looking for creative and affordable solutions to get people out of tents lined up along sidewalks near downtown and under overpasses on highways in suburban areas.

City Councilor Paul Kerkorian said officials are focusing on an abandoned piece of land across from the park.

“He was perfect for this,” confirmed Kerkorian.

According to Kerkorian, the tiny village had to overcome some “not in my backyard” reaction from nearby residents, who needed to be convinced that it was safe.

Ken Kraft, CEO of Hope of the Valley, a nonprofit that operates Chandler Street, said he polls dubious neighbors if they prefer campgrounds or tiny houses.

“We have services here,” he explained. "And people can begin to pave the way out of homelessness."

Chandler Street counselors provide mental health, legal and job search assistance. For example, a resident of the town Amy Skinner is already receiving a social security card, which she hopes will be the first step to work.

The houses are red, white and blue with bright yellow paths in between. The vibrant colors are meant to avoid the overwhelming feeling and help the village blend in with the surrounding area. Kerkorian said the city worked with builders to bypass cumbersome zoning rules and complete the village in weeks rather than months.

One house cost $ 7500, including labor and materials. They were shipped as ready-to-assemble panels from construction company Pallet Shelter. According to Kerkorian's office, the total cost of the project was about $ 5 million, most of which was spent on redirecting water, electricity and sewer lines to the site. Hope of the Valley receives a daily $ 55 per person refund from the city to cover three meals a day and community services for residents.

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Hope of the Valley is building two more tiny villages in North Hollywood, including one with 100 apartments, which will be the largest in California.

Homeless advocates applaud these actions and claim that every shelter is helping in the midst of a deepening crisis. But Pete White, director of support for the Los Angeles Community Action Network, criticizes the houses for their simple design. According to him, they look like "the barn in which you keep your lawn mower."

His group is developing a similar community of slightly larger microhomes for homeless people that have their own kitchens and are environmentally sustainable using solar energy and recycled water. The EcoHood pilot program will be funded by donations, White said.

“We know that we will not be able to get out of the crisis. But we are confident that we can make progress if we show that such projects really work, ”he stressed.

The goal of Chandler Street residents is to stay here for a few months and then move on to permanent housing. Ted Beauregard, one of its first residents, plans to leave by mid-April.

The 63-year-old man found himself homeless for the first time when the pandemic halted his construction contracting business. “I use it as a stepping stone,” he said of his tiny house.

In the meantime, he values ​​a roof over his head and storage space. He admires the construction of his temporary home, which he compares to army barracks.

“I look at it as if I live in a gated community opposite a beautiful park,” he commented, pointing over the fence to the green lawns on the other side of the street.

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