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.
Now, 43 residents call the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village their (temporary) home, just a few months after the community’s February grand opening.
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.
Despite this cost, the beta project’s shelters “add real value” to the once vacant lot, according to Lehrer Architects.
Source: Lehrer Architects
Chandler Village was the first tiny home community Hope of the Valley had planned for Los Angeles.
It’s since served as a “test case” for the city, Rowan Vansleve, CFO of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, told 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.
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
“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.
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.
These learnings were then applied to the new Alexandria site, and will dictate how the nonprofit’s future tiny home villages will look.
This includes upcoming communities in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, which will be open in the next two months.
But now, let’s take a closer look at the first tiny home village that started it all.
In April, I took a tour of the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village, which has 40 tiny homes and 75 beds.
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.
An outdoor smoking area and the restroom facilities with showers sit right across from the entrance.
The shipping container-like buildings make up the communal facilities, which include a laundry room. It’s also where the case workers are located.
The village also offers its residents three meals a day here.
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.
Surrounding these public amenities are the tiny homes.
Several of these tiny homes have already been personalized with flowers, flags, and posters.
Each tiny home has an entry door that can be locked, a luxury some of the residents might not have had prior.
“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.'”
The interior has all of the basic amenities needed to live in a tiny home in Los Angeles, including a bed, a heater …
… an air conditioning unit, windows, shelves, and a desk.
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.
“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.
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.