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Building tiny houses into big help for Los Angeles’ homeless

May 9, 2015

By Christopher Weber, Associated Press : sfchronicle – excerpt

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Shortly after Elvis Summers befriended Irene McGhee, he learned she was sleeping on the streets of South Los Angeles.

So the man with the blue mohawk and wraparound shades decided to build the grandmother nicknamed “Smokie” a tiny house on wheels. Summers estimates he spent less than $500 on plywood, shingles, a window and a door for the 8-foot-long structure that can be moved around by one person.

It turned out so well that Summers launched a crowdfunding campaign to construct similar shelters for other homeless people in his neighborhood. He had no grand ambitions beyond lending a helping hand in a city with thousands of residents without roofs over their heads…

The GoFundMe campaign — called Tiny House, Huge Purpose — has brought in nearly $60,000 in less than a month. And Summers’ inbox is overflowing with offers for help from carpenters, homeless advocates, retirees and children as young as 6…

It is unclear if the city would enforce rules for these homes. McGhee said police have told her she won’t be bothered as long as she moves the home, which is small enough to fit in a parking space, every three days.

And the structure is so small that it wouldn’t require permits if built on private property, said Luke Zamperini, spokesman for the city Building and Safety Department.

“We do not consider it a dwelling or a building as it does not meet the definition of either,” Zamperini said… (more)

So, you can build a tiny home for less than $500 dollars provided you don’t have to pay for the land. That seems to be what the Navigation project on Mission and 16th Street is all about too. “Temporary” housing means no rights to stay put. This is the most affordable housing you can build or buy and the most flexible. Can we hear it for trailer parks? or as they call them in Europe, car parks?

One Comment leave one →
  1. holeshothunter permalink
    May 9, 2015 9:26 am

    Great idea. I have been living in 300 square foot ‘in-law house’, and I COULD park 2 motorcycles in here and still be comfortable. Let’s hear it for houses of the size that MOST houses were until (appx) WW1. One person can do it easily. Just make sure it is well insulated/ventilated so you don’t accidentally build a people cooker…


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