A community of tiny shelters aimed at helping unhoused people transition to more permanent housing is being built in a vacant lot in Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood, where the neighborhood’s eponymous park recently became a flashpoint of the heated debate over the city’s perennial and growing homelessness crisis.
“The village’s 38 cabin-like structures will contain a total of 74 beds, according to Alexis Florio, speaking for Lehrer Architects. The prefabricated units are made off-site by a company called Pallet” and can be assembled in under an hour, writes Barry Lank for The Eastsider LA. “In addition, contractors are assembling a hygiene trailer with toilets and five showers. The village also include[s] a guard booth, a storage unit, and a large administration office unit with a laundry facility and room for social service officials.” The structures cost around $9,000 each including installation, with a total project cost of $3 million—well below the close to $5.7 million budget approved for the project. Operations costs for the site are expected to be $1,485,550 for Fiscal Year 2021-2022.
Earlier this month, Echo Park Lake, located less than a mile to the south of the tiny home village, was the site of a tense standoff between unhoused residents and their advocates and police as the city cleared the massive encampment that had developed in the park during the pandemic. While the city has placed many of the former park residents in hotel rooms via Project Roomkey, advocates say the forceful removal was unnecessary and the services provided are inadequate, especially during a pandemic.