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City Committee to Take Close Look at “Tiny Home Villages” for Local Homeless

Published on Monday, August 15, 2022 | 5:02 am

A “village” of tiny homes for homeless people operated by the County of los Angeles. [Photo courtesy City of Pasadena]
The City Council’s Economic Development and Technology committee will discuss tiny villages as a strategy to combat homelessness.

The “tiny home villages” model has become popular nationwide and locally, and regulations for tiny villages have been adopted by several jurisdictions in California.

According to a staff report the need for non-congregate interim housing has grown more urgent since the pandemic began.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the issues already plaguing the City’s unhoused population,” according to a city staff report. “Social distancing guidelines have forced the City’s congregate shelters to reduce their capacities by up to 75%.”

The spaces in which clients reside are detached dwellings of less than 100 square feet in floor area, providing separate, independent living quarters, and include basic functional areas for sleeping, restroom/shower and laundry facilities. The dwellings may be on a foundation and/or on wheels.

The units typically consist of one or two bed dwellings, air conditioning, heating, laundry, an outdoor eating areas, restroom and showers. Outdoor security is also usually provided.

Villages have been built in nearby Eagle Rock and Highland Park. Other facilities have been set up in Montebello and North Hollywood.

In March the city’s Office of Economic Development provided information about city-owned vacant lots in Pasadena in response to councilmembers’ request for information on properties that could potentially be used for a tiny shelter community for homeless people.

Currently there are 12 vacant city-owned properties in Pasadena. The sizes of the properties range from 0.1 acres to 1.15 acres.

The vacant properties include a 50,000 square feet property along Del Mar Boulevard previously used for a Nature Center and a 46,609 square feet property located at South Kinneloa, now temporarily being used by the city’s Department of Transportation to store on-street dining K-rail.

At that meeting, one community member called on the city to use some vacant property for a tiny village. 

In 2021, local residents living in West Pasadena expressed concerns about the nearby Eagle Rock Project. Elected officials in Los Angeles admitted they did not discuss the project with nearby cities. 

The Eagle Rock Tiny Village is located in an under-used parking lot between the east and west on-ramps for the 134 freeway and was opened in March 2022. The site has 48 units, including 3 ADA accessible units, equipped with two beds, electricity, and air conditioning, and is operated by Union Station Homeless Services which provides comprehensive wrap-around supportive services including case management and housing location services. The site is pet friendly and includes a pair of mobile hygiene trailers, laundry facilities and an outdoor seating area with shade. Residents are not required to submit to a curfew or drug testing, and neighbors in the surrounding area are able to contact the 24-hour on-site security with any concerns or issues. 

In January, volunteers counted 512 people experiencing homelessness in Pasadena on the night of the count.

The meeting starts at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and can be viewed by clicking here.

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