COLORFUL TINY HOUSES: A NEW SOLUTION TO HOMELESSNESS
With the pandemic, the rate of homelessness in Los Angeles increased by 16% compared to the previous year.
For homelessness, which is one of the major problems of the USA, 13 states, including California, have invested at least $ 4 billion in the last 5 years. One of the biggest problems of Los Angeles regarding the issue is that there are very few units that can accommodate the homeless. City administrators and non-governmental organizations have begun to produce new solutions for the homelessness problem. Two projects designed by Lehrer Architects and built this year are recent examples of this. It is aimed that those who stay in these villages established in Alexandria Park and Chandler Boulevard will be able to move to their permanent homes after staying for 4-6 months.
Instead of using containers as in similar shelter projects, 6m2 units that can be used for single and double occupancy have been preferred. Thus, smaller and narrower lands can be preferred for projects and the relations of the units with each other can be diversified. Pallet Shelter, which produces these shelters preferred in the project, is a company where most of the employees are former homeless, addicts and prisoners. Their goal is to produce units that will meet the housing needs of all homeless people and create an unorthodox workforce profile.
In such a project where the construction has to be kept low, the most appropriate decision to give the desired effect was the use of color. Fast-established, robust, sterile, useful units and the floor of the space are colored, capturing a positive and promising feeling. The design, which also considered disabled people, seems to have been partially experimental, colorful, open, humane, intended and succeeded in designing a real “neighborhood”.
Lehrer Architects ‘ pilot project is the Chandler Boulevard Bridge Home Village, consisting of 40 units with a total of 75 beds. Although the village, which was built in 13 weeks, has a high budget of approximately $ 3.5 million, in fact, most of the expenditures were used for infrastructure works such as newly created sewage and protective barriers. So the field can be used for different purposes after this project is removed. Large public spaces are provided in the village, where there is a common eating and drinking and gathering area, pet playground, showers, toilets, washing machines, secure storage and access to city services.
The second project built, Alexandria Park Tiny Homes Village, consists of 103 units that can house a total of 200 people. The land, which was previously used as a living space for the homeless, this time was planned and designed by improving the use of public space. The plan of the shelters is arranged according to the order of the existing trees and a service road is planned to be used in case of emergency.
In projects produced for the homeless, it is aimed to increase the number of units as much as possible, and the use of visual identity and public space can be taken as secondary. According to architect Michael Lehrer, co-founder of Lehrer Architects, such projects should have a cheering effect that will honor citizens who do not have home, give them hope and a sense of community. It looks like a continuation of projects that are produced as fast as possible, bring together many institutions to highlight cooperation and offer security, respect and love to the most vulnerable members of society.