Are Tiny Houses the Solution to Homelessness in Los Angeles?
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Are Tiny Homes the Solution to Homelessness?

Photojournal by Ted Soqui

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In the center of North Hollywood’s Arts District there’s a new community of 39 tiny homes. The Chandler Street Tiny Home Village, which opened in February, houses formerly homeless people while they find permanent solutions to end their cycle of homelessness.

 

Rowan Vansleve, CFO at Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, says, “We’re on city-owned land that was really a blight in the community. It was a dumping ground. There was an encampment here. There was some burnt-out vehicles. It was really just a rough little patch in what otherwise is a pretty nice community.”

 

The idea was to give the area’s homeless a place to get back on their feet with bridge housing. A partnership with the city of L.A. and City Councilman Paul Krekorian brought the first tiny homes community to Los Angeles. The 64-square-foot structures are made by Pallet Shelters and designed by the homeless. Each has a locking door and is equipped with electricity, heating and cooling. Many are painted in bright colors and decorated by residents.

 

“The tiny home movement is really exciting. It can be deployed incredibly rapidly, it’s cost effective and, depending on the land, it can really be an affordable solution,” says Vansleve.

 

Jolin Bracey lived in her car during the last five years, parked across the street from what is now the Chandler Street village.

 

Bracey lost her job as a medical assistant. “I got furloughed for my job [in] April of last year. I was going to Newbury Park, and nobody in my job knew I was homeless. When they closed down the office, [employees] were working remotely from home, but I don’t have a home to go to,” she said. “They ended up getting rid of me because I didn’t have a place to set up all my equipment.” 

 

She now lives in the village while she works on getting her life on track. Her new interest is in opening an online store selling decorating accessories.

 

Her favorite thing about living in the village, she says, is “the community and you build off each other, it helps people.”

 

There are plans to build more villages in the Valley. A new community of 103 tiny homes will open in late April in Alexandria Park. A former roller rink is also undergoing conversion and will provide shelter.

The Chandler Street Tiny home village. North Hollywood

The Chandler Street Tiny home village. North Hollywood

Jolin Bracey inside her tiny home. North Hollywood.

Jolin Bracey inside her tiny home that she is decorating.

Jolin Bracey standing in front of her tiny home.

Jolin Bracey standing in front of her tiny home.

Sign of hope in the North Hollywood village.

The “Yellow Brick Road” inside the village.

Window art inside a tiny home. North Hollywood.

Placard on a tiny home. North Hollywood.

The Chandler Street village from the air. North Hollywood.

Laundry facilities at the village.

The Chandler Street village from the air.

The Chandler Street village from the air.

The Chandler Street village from the air.

The Alexandria Park village under construction next to the 170 freeway. North Hollywood.

The Alexandria Park village under construction from the air.

The Alexandria Park village under construction.

The Alexandria Park village under construction.

The Alexandria Park village under construction next to the 170 freeway.

All Photographs by Ted Soqui

Copyright Capital & Main 2021