Tiny Homes for the Homeless

Ron DeVarona
Staff Writer

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PC: Carolinian Opinions

In August, an amazing, experimental initiative was passed in Los Angeles County to tackle the soaring homeless population. The LA Community Development Commission has greenlighted a $550,000 program that aims to provide low cost housing for the homeless by incentivising homeowners to build essentially “tiny” homes in their backyards.

The rewards are quite attractive: loans of up to $75,000 to build one and $50,000 to renovate sheds, clubhouses, etc. In reality, tiny homes are super inexpensive as long as you don’t try to get fancy with it. I personally have looked into tiny home prices for myself and an adequate structure and furnish only costs a little under $10,000. However, the cost goes up when you have to buy the land as well.

The real kicker is the loans they give out slowly stop gathering interest with every year that the building is occupied, and the loan is forgiven after ten years. This leaves the homeowner to do with the building as they wish to take in whomever they want. This is an excellent start to tackling their 23 percent hike in homeless populations in 2017, according to the annual homeless census.

This method has also been used last summer in Multnomah County Oregon where four homeowners built housing for screened individuals for five years. This movement is helpful because not only do I love tiny homes, but I also love the efforts being made to actually do something for those in need.

Any able individuals can lend a hand just by allowing what would essentially be a fancy shed to be built in their backyard. The product can change people’s lives. Giving them a place to stay for a couple of years so they can get back on their feet allows them to have a permanent address to get their checks from jobs which were previously unavailable because of their status.

For some reason not everyone is okay with this plan. “Every time you add people to a neighborhood, you add a need for city services and a need for parking and all the things that come with added density,” says Elizabeth Pollock, president of the Del Rey Residents Association.

Oh no, a new person is moving into your neighborhood! Honestly, how often do you really see your neighbors? What difference is only 27 out of 500 more people joining homeownership gonna make? It’s gonna make a huge difference to the person that was stuck out on the streets before this opportunity arrived.

You have to think about the fact that because this idea was approved, that it has never been easier to providing housing for those without while also utilizing already occupied land. This is especially true given that land management is already a big issue which mankind faces. Adding more people to neighborhoods might cause more traffic but is that really such a burden to some people that they would be against giving opportunities to get back on their feet?

Even for the homeowners it is not that much of a burden; it’s not like they are moving into your house and eating all your food. They are essentially just a neighbor in your backyard. If you have nothing going on back there, wouldn’t it be great to help someone in need?

Love thy neighbour, right? I’m not saying that everyone should feel obligated to help every single homeless person they can but if those that can could do so for free, why would they not? They get a free building out of it too! How often do you get a free building for doing anything at all, nonetheless while helping those in need?

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