LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A tiny house village aimed at keeping families off the streets has hosted a Thanksgiving feast, and residents are speaking out about the village’s effectiveness.
One resident, Rashid Eley, accepted his award from Urban Alchemy for putting in the work to get permanent housing. He’ll soon leave the tiny home village along Alvarado Street that he’s called home for the past five months.
“Every day, prior to being here was unexpected and you didn’t know what the next day consisted of,” Eley said. “I appreciate the help and then also the job.”
He and other residents were honored by the non-profit at a pre-Thanksgiving brunch.
Since 2018, Urban Alchemy has helped thousands of unhoused people transition from the tiny homes to permanent ones, and helped them find j0bs.
A couple reflected on the help they’ve gotten thanks to the program.
“I have money now when I’ve never had money. I have food when I never had food. I have a place to stay when I never had a place. It’s impacted my life in a lot of ways,” Steven Winkler said.
“They’ve gotten me mental programs and I’m on medication and they’ve helped me keep my place that I have stable and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have anything right now. I’d still be in the car,” Buffy Winkler said.
The village hosts 76 people in more than 36 tiny homes, and everyone was welcomed to the feast.
Both Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and the nonprofit’s CEO say the tiny home model is working and is key to helping fix L.A.’s homeless crisis.
“This is a long-term commitment. We didn’t get into this crisis overnight, it was decades in the making. But I do believe we’re gonna revere that within a number of years,” O’Farrell said.
The founder of Urban Alchemy said they aim to keep the community united and included.
“We try to do as much as we can to uplift our community, infuse joy, and recognize our people so we create a community around them. Let them know that people love them,” said founder Lena Miller.
Urban Alchemy currently employs more than 800 full-time workers who are considered homeless. They say the key to their success is having advocates who can relate to the people in the program.