$130,000 for an 8-foot-by-8-foot shed? That's what L.A. is paying in a bid to house the homeless
DEC. 12, 20206 AM upxeD5:51 PM


Karen Morea, 62, hugs her dog, Jack-Jack, inside her “tiny home” in a parking lot in Riverside. She has been there almost two months after living on the streets.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)


A resident of a tiny home village walks to the common shower area.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)


Karen Morea walks back to her unit in the tiny home village in a parking lot adjacent to a Riverside shelter.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)


“It seems unimaginable to me that two adults with their own lives can share that space reasonably,” said Shayla Myers, an attorney for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, which is intervening in the lawsuit on behalf of homeless people.


“It’s such an example of why we’re in this mess in Los Angeles,” said Elizabeth A. Mitchell, an attorney representing the group, the LA Alliance for Human Rights. “They do these massive projects that are so cost prohibitive, and they only provide beds for a few people while others are degrading in the streets.”


Mike Feuer says the city did everything it could to reduce the cost.(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)


Feuer said the city did everything it could to reduce the cost, “but not at the expense of safety and hygiene, or of greater overall costs.” The city has relaxed building code requirements for storm water runoff and parking, reduced the required ratio of bathrooms to bedrooms, and allowed tighter spacing of the structures, he said.


The city also shortened the development time by purchasing the structures without competitive bidding from a Washington state company called Pallet, which has supplied personal shelters equipped with heat and air conditioning to several other California cities.


Yet at about $8,600 each, the price tag for the individual shelters accounted for only a small fraction of the overall cost.

即使這樣,每個房屋價格僅約為8 600美元,僅占總費用的一小部分。

It also includes $122,000 for underground utilities, $253,000 for concrete pads (one for each shelter), $312,000 for an administrative office and staff restroom, $1.1 million for mechanical, electrical and fire alarms and $280,000 for permits and fees.


Additionally, the city has budgeted $651,000 to connect to the street sewer line and $546,000 in design, project management and inspection costs.


Rick Cole, a former Ventura city manager, says the tiny home is a “good and modest idea done the way the Pentagon would to it.”(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

前文圖拉市市執行長里克·科爾(Rick Cole)認為,建造迷你住宅是“一個不錯、妥當的想法,就像五角大樓所希望的那樣?!?

Former Ventura and Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole, who served two years as Garcetti’s deputy mayor for budget and innovation, said the city faced a paradox of “nice to haves” vs. “need to haves.”

前文圖拉和圣塔莫尼卡市執行長里克·科爾(Rick Cole)曾任洛杉磯副市長負責預算和創新,他說,這座城市面臨著“善待富人”與“需要富人付出”的矛盾。

“There is no ‘waste’ here, just a good and modest idea done the way the Pentagon would do it,” Cole said in an email after reviewing an itemization of the costs for the Chandler tiny home project in North Hollywood. The Pentagon, of course, is infamous for expensive overengineering.


Noting that site preparation includes demolition, clearing, grading, paving, walkways, landscaping, K-rails, fencing, security guard booth and design fees, he said the city could “cut it in half and you’d have a noticeably less nice, but still serviceable development.


“Someone has to make a decision on the trade-offs of whether you are going to have safe and decent housing with these features all built in for a few people or a stripped-down version for more people,” he said.


Others that have purchased shelters from the Washington company got their tiny home villages up and running more quickly and at far less cost by stripping the plans to the minimum.


On Jan.14, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors decided to set up a temporary shelter for a group of homeless people camped beside a county trail.


“Pallet shelters are so easy to construct, to get on site,” said Caroline Judy, director of general services. “Pallet was a great partner. They brought out a team, many who had experienced homelessness, worked really well with our team. We created a village in 11 days.”
The cost was $21,817 per cabin, Judy said.


Alarmed by a death on the city’s mini skid row, Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey bought one shelter from Pallet, set it up in the parking lot next to the city’s homeless shelter and moved in.


“It was an adventure,” he said. “It obviously informed my thinking.”


He found the space livable, providing a “sense of ownership and security” that doesn’t exist in congregate shelters and would be sacrificed with both bunks in use.


The City Council voted last Dec. 17 to purchase 30 shelters. The village opened March 13, at a total cost of $512,000 — just over $17,000 per shelter.


Except for couples, the two-bed units have only one occupant each and will stay that way even without COVID-19 restrictions.


Bailey said a sense of ownership and security contributes to the mental stability homeless people need to move forward.


Karen Morea stands outside her tiny home, where she has put up holiday decorations.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)


She tried the shelter but didn’t adapt to being closed in with other people.


“I’m way claustrophobic,” she said. But she said she could stay in the Pallet shelter.


“Yeah, if they’ll have me. It’s wonderful.”


Her neighbor, Carlos Beltran, 35, keeps more spartan quarters with the second bunk latched up and only a few cleaning supplies on the floor.


He said he is working his way back to God after bad decisions left him with nothing but a broken-down car. He now has a job and a working car and is hoping to get established with a religious community.


Carlos Beltran stands outside his residence in the tiny home village in Riverside.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)


“I just needed a little help,” he said.


Riverside is typical of other government agencies using the Pallet shelters. They are installed quickly, at low cost, and are being used as singles, even if they have multiple beds.


For what it calls its Stability Site, the city of Tacoma, Wash., purchased 58 shelters with two bunk beds each for four occupants. But it’s only using one. The city spent $700,000 to set it up, which works out to about $12,000 per shelter, less than one-tenth the cost of L.A.'s tiny homes.


“One of the appeals to the Pallet shelter is for someone to have their own space,” said Erica Azcueta, program manager for homelessness and household stability. “When we set up the Stability Site, some individuals had been homeless for a long time, over a decade. Providing that single space for them really improves the
likelihood of having them ready for permanent housing.”


In Santa Cruz, the nonprofit Housing Matters set up 10 shelters in a day in the parking lot of its two-acre campus that includes a family shelter and transitional housing, along with a dining hall and restrooms.


“They delivered,” said Tom Stagg, director of the program. “We stayed out of the way. They got them set up.”

項目負責人湯姆·斯塔格(Tom Stagg)說到:“我們做到了?!薄拔覀兂晒α?。他們有去處了?!?

The two-bed option is not being used, either.


Pioneered in Seattle several years ago, the idea of replacing homeless camps with villages of miniature shelters began as a nonprofit enterprise with citizen participation.


Combining public and private funds, the nonprofit now manages 550 tiny homes in villages on public property, private property and church property around the Seattle area. It costs from $300,000 to $500,000 to set up 40 or 50 homes, depending on the sewer connection, Lee said. Portable toilets initially used have been replaced by permanent bathrooms and showers.

根據城市法規, 120平方英尺及以下的建筑不需要許可,她的組織為教堂和志愿者組織提供設計和材料,每個小屋成本約為2700美元,由其成員建造。

The villages function as communities, with residents all performing chores and, at some, taking part in self-governance.


Seattle’s citizen-driven model never got traction in Los Angeles.


When a self-styled homeless activist started delivering hand-made tiny homes to people living on the streets, the city ruled the structures illegal and quickly stamped out the movement.