See inside the prefab tiny homes LA is building to combat the city’s homelessness crisis

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A peek inside one of the tiny homes.

  • This year, Hope of the Valley opened two prefab tiny home villages to house Los Angeles’ unhoused residents.
  • The nonprofit plans to open two more communities in Los Angeles this year.
  • Take a look inside the prefab tiny homes, which were made by Washington-based Pallet.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis has been quietly brewing for several years now.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

To address this issue, nonprofit Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission has opened two colorful tiny home villages in the city this year: Chandler Street and the newer Alexandria Park.

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The Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village.

The villages aren’t meant to house millennial tourists or trendy minimalists interested in tiny living.

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The Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village.

Instead, the two communities were built to temporarily house Los Angeles’ unhoused residents.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

This serves as an alternative to “congregate” shelters that can often be more expensive and less time-efficient to construct.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The goal of Hope of the Valley’s tiny house program is to help its residents find a permanent home by the end of their stay.

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Two people at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The program starts at 90 days with the option to extend for an additional three months depending on the progress of the resident, Priscilla Rodriguez, a caseworker at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village, told Insider.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The two villages are about two miles away from each other and were opened only two months apart.

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The Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village.

The first tiny home village on Chandler Blvd. (pictured below), opened in February as a “test case” for Los Angeles, Rowan Vansleve, CFO of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, told Insider.

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The tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The North Hollywood-based community has 40 tiny homes and 75 beds, but as of now, only couples are allowed to share a unit due to COVID-19 protocols.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

So far, the program has been a success, according to Rodriguez.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The village’s on-site caseworkers help the residents with a variety of tasks, from obtaining a social security card, to finding income, to teaching them life skills, such as how to keep their tiny homes clean.

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The tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

“Some people come here and they’re used to being in a tent and not having their own space,” Rodriguez said. “They’re going to be housed one day on their own, and we want to support them in every way so when they get there, they feel confident to be there and to keep that house on their own.”

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Many of the residents at this first site have already made “huge progress,” and the majority of the community’s 43 occupants are already on track to be housed independently, according to Rodriguez.

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A tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Now, Hope of the Valley is looking to continue this success with its latest tiny home community just a short drive away from the original Chandler site.

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The Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village.

The new Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village is the largest tiny home community in California, according to the nonprofit.

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The Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village.

The new site, which is also located in North Hollywood, is over double the size of the original Chandler location with 103 tiny homes and 200 beds.

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The Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village.

The new community will begin welcoming its first round of residents this week.

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The Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village.

The Alexandria Park and Chandler Street sites are both filled with 64-square-foot shelters made by Washington-based Pallet, which specializes in building tiny homes for people who have been unhoused due to natural or personal disasters.

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Pallet shelters in Multnomah County.

Source: Insider

The company also makes 100-square-foot units, but let’s take a look inside the smaller iteration that’s being used by Hope of the Valley.

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A peek inside one of the tiny homes.

The cabins have an aluminum frame with insulated, fiber-reinforced plastic composite walls.

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Inside a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Source: Insider

Like any typical home, the shelters have a lockable entry door.

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The lock on the door of a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

A locking door may seem like a no-brainer for most people, but many of the communities’ residents may not have previously had this security measure.

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The window of a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

This sense of privacy and security isn’t possible in a “traditional” congregate shelter, Michael Lehrer and Nerin Kadribegovic, Lehrer Architects’ founding partner and partner, respectively, told Insider in an email interview in February. Lehrer Architects designed the Chandler site with the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering.

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Inside a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

“Ethically and morally for people who’ve experienced trauma, having a locking door can sometimes become the difference between accepting help getting off the street and making a step towards permanent supportive housing,” Rowan Vansleve, CFO of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, told Insider.

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Inside a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

A 64-square-foot space may seem small, but it has enough room to accommodate all of the unit’s amenities, which include temperature controls like an air conditioner and heater …

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The inside of one of the tiny homes.

… lights that can be used when the four windows don’t provide enough natural brightness …

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The inside of one of the tiny homes.

… and outlets.

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Inside a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The beds are topped with a navy blue duvet, which is meant to invoke a calm feeling, according to Vansleve.

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The bed inside a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

There’s also a small desk, a smoke detector for an added layer of security …

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The smoke detector inside a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

… and storage space underneath the bed frames.

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Inside a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The new Alexandria Park tiny homes also come with toiletries bags customized for men and women.

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The inside of one of the tiny homes.

Several of the new shelters’ furnishings are sourced from Hope of the Valley’s five donation and thrift shops located throughout the greater Los Angeles region.

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The inside of one of the tiny homes.

Several residents who have been living at the Chandler location have already made themselves at home with plants, posters, and artwork.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The tiny homes either come with one or two beds, and some of the single-bed units have enough space to accommodate a wheelchair.

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The interior of the wheelchair accessible tiny home.

The shelters don’t have room for a private restroom, but both communities have shared individual bathrooms that each come with a sink, toilet, and shower.

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Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village’s bathroom.

Same goes for laundry, which can be done at the sites’ communal laundry facilities.

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The laundry facility at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Pallet’s shelters typically have a lifespan of over 10 years, and the units can be easily disassembled and reassembled, according to Pallet.

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A window inside a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Source: Insider

The Pallet homes located in Alexandria Park can be assembled within 90 minutes.

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The Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village.

A 64-square-foot Pallet shelter starts at $4,900.

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The Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village.

Source: Insider

But external costs such as sewage, electricity, and internet bumped the cost of each bed at the Alexandria Park location up to about $43,000.

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The Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village.

“It doesn’t feel like a homeless shelter, it feels like a launching pad,” Vansleve said about the Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village. “As you walk through, it almost has a college dorm sort of vibe to it, which is exciting.”

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The Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Homeless parents’ lawsuit forcing New York City to provide WiFi for 114,000 homeless students will head to trial

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  • A federal judge advanced a lawsuit to expedite the roll-out of WiFi to homeless shelters across the city.
  • There are more than 114,000 homeless students in New York City. 
  • The class-action suit was filed on behalf of homeless students across the city who have been unable to access the internet in homeless shelters during periods of remote learning this year. 
  • The city provided students with iPads with unlimited cellular data, but many students have had trouble getting proper cell service. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A lawsuit aimed at forcing New York City to provide WiFi for students in homeless shelters is moving forward to trial.

US District Judge Alison Nathan ruled last week that the class-action suit brought by homeless parents and the Coalition of the Homeless would proceed to expedited discovery in preparation for a trial.

“Without internet connectivity, homeless students are deprived of the means to attend classes,” Nathan wrote in the opinion that accompanied the decision. “And because homeless children who lack internet access and reside in New York City shelters cannot attend school for as long as that deprivation exists, the City bears a duty, under the statute, to furnish them with the means necessary for them to attend school.” 

Some homeless students are still unable to access the internet from a shelter more than nine months since Mayor Bill de Blasio first announced remote learning on March 15, 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. New York City schools have approximately 114,000 homeless students according to an Advocates for Children report cited by the judge.

The city’s original plan was to provide iPads with unlimited cellular data to students without access to WiFi, first partnering with T-Mobile. After students weren’t able to access T-Mobile service in many shelters, the city switched to Verizon, but some students continued to be unable to connect to school. 

On October 26, 2020 Mayor de Blasio announced that the city would install WiFi in all shelters, but officials cautioned this wouldn’t be complete until the summer of 2021. 

“It should come as no surprise that the City lacked any real legal basis to prevent this lawsuit from proceeding,” said Susan Horwitz, supervising attorney of the education law project at the Legal Aid Society, wrote in a press release.

“Despite months of pushing the City to address the root cause of the problem, City Hall continues to advance ineffective solutions while families in shelters suffer. We look forward to seeing all shelters equipped with working WiFi, far in advance of the city’s stated goal of summer 2021.” 

City officials said they are working to get Wifi to students in shelters.

“The court’s decision indicates that the city has worked hard to provide internet connectivity to the plaintiffs and is continuing to do so,” Paolucci, the spokesperson of New York City’s Law Department, wrote to Law & Crime.

Paolucci has not yet responded to Insider’s request for comment. 

Read the original article on Business Insider