LA’s first prefab tiny home village for the homeless opened this year as a ‘test case’ for the city – see how it’s doing now

Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.
Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

  • Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission’s Chandler Street Tiny Home Village first opened in February.
  • The village was created to temporarily house North Hollywood’s unhoused residents.
  • See how the Los Angeles’ first tiny home community is doing now, and how it’s inspired similar developments.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
In February, an unassuming and “forgotten” corner of North Hollywood, Los Angeles, was transformed into a colorful village of tiny homes run by nonprofit Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission.

Chandler Boulevard Bridge Home Village
The Chandler Boulevard Bridge Home Village.

Source: Insider

City officials first scouted the teardrop-shaped infill lot when they were looking for a place to build “bridge” homes, or shelters meant to aid in finding unhoused residents a permanent home.

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The entrance to the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village

Now, 43 residents call the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village their (temporary) home, just a few months after the community’s February grand opening.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Lehrer Architects, which designed the tiny home community with the city’s Bureau of Engineering, had a $3.49 million budget for the project. But foundational work – including street leveling and sewer lines – became the most expensive component of the project.

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The laundry facility at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Despite this cost, the beta project’s shelters “add real value” to the once vacant lot, according to Lehrer Architects.

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The entrance to the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Source: Lehrer Architects

Chandler Village was the first tiny home community Hope of the Valley had planned for Los Angeles.

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

It’s since served as a “test case” for the city, Rowan Vansleve, CFO of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, told Insider.

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A tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The nonprofit has already opened its second tiny home village, pictured below, about two miles away from the initial community, riding off of the success of the Chandler site.

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The Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village.

Source: Insider

The new site, the Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village, is much larger than the original “test case” Chandler site pictured below. It’ll have 200 beds, a significant uptick from Chandler’s 75 beds

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Source: Insider

“They had taken another piece of unused land that had encampments on it and they used the learnings of that to build [the new Alexandria Park village],” Vansleve said.

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A peek through the fence into the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

By starting with the Chandler site, the nonprofit learned that the village’s bright colors worked well, but that any upcoming villages would need more on-site offices for case managers.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

These learnings were then applied to the new Alexandria site, and will dictate how the nonprofit’s future tiny home villages will look.

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The entrance into the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

This includes upcoming communities in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, which will be open in the next two months.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

But now, let’s take a closer look at the first tiny home village that started it all.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

In April, I took a tour of the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village, which has 40 tiny homes and 75 beds.

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

Source: Hope of the Valley

After being temperature checked by a guard at the entrance of the community, I walked past a series of lockers into the fenced village.

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The entrance into the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The lockers are meant to secure the residents’ items that aren’t allowed inside of the village, whether it be drugs or personal defense weapons, Vansleve told me while we toured the Alexandria Park location.

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The entrance into the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

An outdoor smoking area and the restroom facilities with showers sit right across from the entrance.

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The smoking area at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

From there, I turned the corner and was immediately greeted by the line-up of tiny homes, an outdoor seating area, and shipping container-like buildings.

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Outdoor communal areas at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village

The shipping container-like buildings make up the communal facilities, which include a laundry room. It’s also where the case workers are located.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The village also offers its residents three meals a day here.

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A cup at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The outdoor communal tables are located right next to these facilities and in front of the small dog park, which sits at the center of the village.

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The dog park at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Surrounding these public amenities are the tiny homes.

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The outdoor tables and a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Several of these tiny homes have already been personalized with flowers, flags, and posters.

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The tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Each tiny home has an entry door that can be locked, a luxury some of the residents might not have had prior.

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

“Achieving this level of privacy and security is not possible in a traditional shelter,” Michael Lehrer and Nerin Kadribegovic, Lehrer Architects’ founding partner and partner, respectively, told Insider in an email interview in February. “The evocation of a child’s drawing of a ‘house’ and even Monopoly’s homes reinforces the idea of ‘home.'”

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

The interior has all of the basic amenities needed to live in a tiny home in Los Angeles, including a bed, a heater …

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

… an air conditioning unit, windows, shelves, and a desk.

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The air conditioning unit inside a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The units were all created by Washington-based Pallet, which specializes in creating prefab tiny homes that can be quickly assembled to create homes for people who may have been unhoused due to natural or personal disasters.

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

“What we felt was really missing from the housing spectrum was a dignified shelter option that honored their individuality and allowed them to have autonomy in their rehabilitation process,” Amy King, founder and CEO of Pallet, told Insider in January.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Source: Insider

Parts of the community, including some of the tiny homes, have been painted bright reds, yellows, and blues to keep the village feeling colorful and non-“institutional,” according to Vansleve.

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The smoking area of the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Source: Insider

However, it wasn’t the community’s bright colors that caught my attention. It was the people.

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Two people at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The village’s residents were friendlier than my own neighbors: almost every person I walked by smiled and said “hello.”

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

And before I left, I had a chat with someone in the village who told me about their daughter, son in college, and interest in other cultures.

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A desk and chair inside a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The conversation reminded me of something Vansleve told me during our chat at the new Alexandria Park location: “I look at people on the street [in their late 60s, early 70s] and some of them could be my mum. They’ve experienced incredible amounts of trauma and they’re left on the street. I think it’s a moral issue.”

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Communal areas at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Think of Chandler Street Tiny Home Village as a transitioning place for its residents.

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A tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The goal of the village, and Hope of the Valley’s upcoming sites, is to provide its residents with stability and a temporary home while helping them eventually transition into more permanent housing.

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

When a new resident arrives, the community’s employees, which include case workers, will help the new individual with a list of personal needs.

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The Pallet logo on a tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

“Here it’s more supportive, more in-depth,” Priscilla Rodriguez, a case manager at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village, told Insider. “When somebody comes in, they could be at the very beginning.”

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

From there, case workers will help the residents receive necessary paperwork like an ID, a social security card, or a birth certificate.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The team will also help its residents find income. This could be unemployment benefits at first, but will hopefully lead to a job or Supplemental Security Income.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The case workers even help with life skills, which could include teaching them how to keep their tiny homes clean or encouraging them to bathe everyday.

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The tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Workers will also connect the residents to doctors and physicians for both mental and physical healthcare.

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The laundry facility at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

“Some of them wanted to bring their tents into their home because they’re not used to coming out of that setting and transitioning back into permanent housing,” Rodriguez said.

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The tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

This is the “transition” case workers like Rodriguez are trying to help with.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

“They are going to be housed on their own one day, and we want to help support them in every way so that way when they get there, they feel confident to be there and to keep that house on their own,” Rodriguez said.

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

The program lasts for 90 days, but can be extended for an additional 90 days if they find the resident is making good headway and improvements, and is “actively working” with the case managers to meet goals.

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The outdoor tables and tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

“All we need from them is just to connect with us,” Rodriguez said. “Just tell us what you need.”

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The dog park at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Every resident in this current batch has already received an extension because the village and program is so new. But moving forward, the goal is for residents to meet the 90-day timeline.

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The tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Each resident gets to dictate the pace at which they move, and right now, many of them are showing “tremendous progress.”

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The majority of the 43 residents currently being housed at the Chandler site are on track to be housed independently, which is the ultimate goal of the program.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

“We really are showing that the program is working,” Rodriguez said.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

In order to qualify for a bed at the village, an outreach worker, often from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, has to verify that the potential resident is homeless and resides within a few miles of the village.

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

The Chandler site has been so popular there’s already a waitlist for the beds.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The team will accept anyone into the village, even if they have substance abuse or mental health issues, physical disabilities, or legal problems.

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The tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

“We’re just people who were trying to help these participants better their life,” Rodriguez said. “They’re not trying to harm the community in any way, they’re trying to get themselves back into that community.”

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The tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

And despite the ongoing pandemic, the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village hasn’t had any COVID-19 outbreaks.

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Communal areas at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The tiny homes each typically shelter up to two people, but due to the virus, only couples are allowed to share a unit.

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The tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

And every one to two weeks, the village offers COVID-19 testing on-site.

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The fence and a sign at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Several residents have already received their first round of vaccines as well.

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

Many of the residents have also been complying with face mask wearing, social distancing, and sanitizing protocols, according to Rodriguez.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Despite the work Chandler Street is doing for the homeless community, the program has experienced some protests and hecklers.

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Tiny homes and outdoor tables at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The hecklers “just want to cause a scene saying we’ve got drug addicts and criminals in here,” according to Rodriguez.

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

“It’s sad to see the pushback because any one of us could be here at any point,” Rodriguez said. “You never know what it’s gonna take to make you homeless, especially during a covid year.”

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Tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Despite this, the village and its program has so far been a success, and has already attracted international attention.

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The tiny homes at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

As a “test case” for future tiny home communities, and since most residents are on track to be permanently housed, the concept has served as an inspiration for people around the world.

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Communal areas at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

The Chandler site has even seen out-of-country visitors who have been interested in incorporating a similar idea in their own city or state.

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A tiny home at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

“It’s making a big impact,” Rodriguez said. “They see that we have had a lot of success with this program, so I definitely see it expanding … hopefully all over the country and in other nations as well.”

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

Read the original article on Business Insider

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