Take a tour of Los Angeles' tiny home village

Originally published at: Take a tour of Los Angeles' tiny home village | Boing Boing


Cage the poors!

This is a low for any city, especially one with millions of millionaires.


I get how vastly superior this arrangement is to a shelter or living on the street. Totally get it. Kudos. But also - all concrete, no green in sight, surrounded by a literal chain-link fence. We’re so far from treating people like people in this country that this is what passes for a model solution.


I commend the effort. Here in N.Y.C., the old S.R.O. (single room occupancy) buildings and Bowery hotels helped to house many homeless. Gentrification eliminated may of
these options. What L.A. is doing there with tiny “shelters” clustered horizontally must needs be done vertically here. As always, its the human/government support systems that are crucial for any rehousing plan to succeed.


Why stigmatize this as homeless housing? Set things up the same elsewhere, add a chair + TV, call it bachelor housing, and you’d satisfy a pretty big chunk of the young male population. Not sure what I mean? Home Makeover - SNL - YouTube

Seriously. Give us a tv and video games, and many of us guys are happy with less space than a zoo animal.


Thanks for posting this. It’s a nice change to see a tiny home story here that doesn’t involve young privileged people pretending they don’t have the financial and social capital to support their scaled-down lifestyle choices.

There are lots of things to like about this Housing First application of the concept, but I love the location across from the park and all the disability-friendly features.


While I agree with some of the posters here that the ascetics of this development can be improved at least they’re giving it an effort. It’s quite a bit institutionalized but like @gracchus mentioned, there’s a park across the way.

I always thought the tiny home concept could be a great community solution to help the homeless get some security and back on their feet (for those seeking that, of course).

ETA: With UBI and communities along these lines it might be possible to get Americans off the street and out of poverty: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/mar/03/california-universal-basic-income-study


It looks like there are no toilets in the tiny homes, which to me makes it not so much a home as a bedroom.


I know in Minneapolis there’s a homeless shelter that’s basically these tiny homes but in a warehouse since many folks who are homeless in the area don’t do well in shelters where you’re sleeping in what amounts to as barracks. So having the tiny home where they can lock up their stuff and have some degree of privacy helps more than it hurts. Frankly, I’m still mad that the US keeps insisting on not building anymore public housing which works just the same in this scenario.


The problem of finding homes for people who want them and offering them in a way they can be accepted as ‘help’ and not ‘punishment’ or ‘policing’ is supremely difficult in Southern California. To look at our problem as anything other than one of refugees from a broken economic system is a mistake, but ‘the system’ continues to be one of blame and structured around the idea that “just because you have a job and use that income to pay your bills everyone else should too.”

The system is super broken. The pandemic slammed that home and threw a number of people teetering over the edge and into the nearly inescapable spiral that is homelessness in America.

We make it far too easy to end up without food and shelter and far too hard to get out of that situation. I hear from so many friends that ‘people don’t want the help’ – it is how the “help” is presented and when your only option is to reengage with a life of debt and wage slavery?

I live across the street from one of LA’s Bridge Home Shelters. Probably the least successful. It became everything the HSA promised it would not. I would rather see those Tiny homes there than a mostly vacant camp that looks something out of V where the few residents seem to keep trying to kill one another. I bought my home thinking ‘what a wonderful idea for a shelter, and close to where the homeless are.’ Sadly, I’m learning that LA’s policy is one that wants to look inspired but is simply containment. Skid Row is the plan.


Or, on the same footprint as three of these you could build three reasonably sized apartments for actual human families to live in. A bit more expensive per square foot to build! But more energy efficient, and saves the occupant money by giving them an actual living and cooking space, instead of constantly forcing them out into heavily monetized spaces, and in great high numbers helps prevent sprawl and reduces occupants transportation expenses.

You’d think the last year would have cooled people on the virtues of tiny houses…


I mean, ok, but why not build a 10 story apt building within that foot print?

IIRC LA and other parts of CA have limits on how far up you can build and where. Housing solutions are available. People don’t want to do it because added supply will bring their stupidly priced homes down.


Whilst I can see this as a positive initiative for the homeless, calling them ‘homes’ is a bit of a stretch when you have to go outside to get to sanitation and it is communal, as well as having to go outside to get to catering facilities. Not my definition of a ‘home’. Accommodation, sure, but not a ‘home’.


As others have said: they could have just built a damn apartment building and housed many times more people in the same space, with each inhabitant getting more, and better, living space, too. I mean, a “tiny house” doesn’t make a lot of sense when it doesn’t have any space around it, and certainly no green space.

So… they’re not even “tiny homes.” They’re just sheds. Sheds to warehouse the homeless.

I don’t even know if this appeals to the small number of homeless people who want to live outside, in tents. It’s more secure than a tent, but also more structured.


Am I the only one getting a Mortville vibe from Desperate Living watching this?

Yeah, that part would not be my thing. But I’ve been to many a village with similar arrangement. We each have our threshold for what a home is. But a roof and place to lay down seem to be a good start.


That was one of the first things I noticed, too. Doesn’t really foster a sense of security, which seemed odd because they made a point of showing how the sleeping quarters could be locked.

1 Like

I think the number one thing everyone agrees on in ‘housing the homeless’ is that it should only be done their way.

Getting homes of any size built and establishing additional places for people to feel safe, sheltered, clean, and to keep their things without fear of having them stolen – seems to be the trick. If this place is fully inhabited, it means people want the spaces.

We can argue about which type of supportive and assistive housing is best once we have enough to worry about bests and not a massive humanitarian crisis.

The article says it is full. My guess at to what makes such small places unattractive to the few homeless people in LA that I have occasion to discuss such things with, aka my neighbors, is the lack of storage space or ability to bring their stuff with them. Seems a standard in LA sheltering is 2 60 gal trash bags volume of stuff. Some get around that by maintaining piles of stuff out on the street within walking distance of a shelter and establish a watch system with other inhabitants.


That seems a slight downgrade to the run down sudent accomodation i had in 2000 (student housing set in sub-units of 8 individual rooms, with communal toilets and kitchen per unit, with about 6 units per building)
That gave roughly equivelent housing to this, but at a far higher density…

It’s better than nothing to be sure, but it doesn’t seem a good use of that space IMHO…


Ah, but that’s the thing - it doesn’t. At least, not in the sense of “giving people want they want.” It just means this option is seen as at least slightly less shitty than their current living conditions. Which, in this state, are completely and utterly shitty. The vast majority of the homeless would prefer conventional homes/apartments. Those aren’t available to them. Given the low occupancy of this space, you’re not even touching a tiny fraction of that group. So sure, this option is more secure than living in a cardboard box or tent. It’s less likely to get you hassled by the cops/parking enforcement than living in your car (or a cardboard box or a tent on public land). And yeah, people will take this over that (if, for no other reason, than because it’s legal), but it’s not what people would choose if they had real choices. If you give me a choice between being punched in the face or knifed in the kidney, I’ll choose the face-punching. Doesn’t mean I want to get punched in the face.