LA’s First Prefab Tiny Home Village for the Homeless a ‘Test Case’

by Ryan


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

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


Source: Hope of the Valley

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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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

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A cup at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


“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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


… 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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


“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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


Source: Insider

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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


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.

Brittany Chang/Insider


“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.

Brittany Chang/Insider




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