LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A homeless encampment in Eagle Rock that has stood for years is set to be replaced by tiny homes as part of an initiative to house the homeless.
There is mixed reaction to this plan, with some criticizing that this is not a long-term solution to the homelessness crisis and others happy that some of the unhoused will be off the streets.
There are tiny homes already in use in neighborhoods throughout L.A. for the same purpose.
City officials and residents have grown frustrated with
“This is a situation that’s been going on for years and there’s been no action,” said L.A. City Councilman Kevin de Leon.
De Leon’s office is working with Union Station Homeless Services to build 48 tiny homes and provide support services, like laundry, bathroom, mental health and drug counseling.
De Leon stresses that this is a short-term solution and that there’s still much more work left to do.
“This is temporary. This is by no means a permanent solution but I think folks in our neighborhood and I think folks who are living in an unhoused situation were from Eagle Rock,” De Leon said.
The encampment is currently located in a parking lot across from Figueroa tucked up against the 134 Freeway.
People who live in the area wonder if tiny homes are a sustainable solution.
“Well we are doing something, but the question is if it’s the right thing to do?” resident Maggie Welsh said. “Do people want people off the streets because they don’t want to see it or do they want to face some of the more systemic issues that are facing all of us, which are related to so many different things? Like education, climate change, homelessness, poverty, affordable housing. They’re all connected.”
Other residents are also rooting for the encampments to do some good.
“The encampments — I really hope it does help them because they’ve been out there for a long time,” said resident Richard Batista. “I know a lot of them need to be in the hospital…”
Union Station Homeless Services said it is taking steps to keep surrounding neighborhoods safe. The organization also said during a virtual town hall this week that they want to work with the unhoused Angelenos who are suffering from substance abuse.
The tiny homes are set to be a safe place without substances for struggling unhoused populations.
“There’s no drugs, alcohol or weapons, period. Okay, that’s can’t come inside. We can’t control what you do outside but we can definitely control what goes on inside,” said Kevin Craft, CEO of Union Station Homeless Services.
The plan for the tiny homes is to start building them sometime this summer and complete them in the fall. The city has a three-year lease with the project.
The 2020 Greater L.A. Homeless Count recorded 66,433 people living on the streets of L.A. County, a 12.7% increase from the previous year.