May 24, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Column: Install at LAX Tiny Homes From The State Grant

By Clark Brown

On March 16  Governor Newsom announced in Sacramento, his first stop on his State of the State of the State Tour, that he would grant 500 tiny homes to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported on March 17. Tiny homes resemble back yard tool sheds with windows, doors with locks and some  comfort of homes, including small desks, bunk beds with blankets and even heating and air conditioning, where needed.

Councilwoman Park should move aggressively to have the City install these tiny homes on 2 large, vacant parcels of land the City owns at LAX at La Cienega and Century and 111th Street and Aviation. 

Hope of the Valley, which has built 6 tiny home villages with 900 beds in the San Fernando Valley, has presented to Councilwoman Park the attached concept drawings for the 2  tiny home villages which would provide 201 beds. Because they occupy only a small portion of the parcels, additional tiny homes could be built. The drawings show the villages will have showers, bathrooms and communal areas for the village residents. Hope of the Valley provides security, health and counseling services for its  residents.

There is a critical need for the tiny homes. In its recent study The  Rand  Corporation reports that: there are  700-800 homeless people in Venice (LAHSA says its 981); Venice has more homeless than any other part of the City except Skid Row and Hollywood, and the total number of unsheltered people in  Hollywood, Skid Row, and Venice increased by 18 percent from September 2021 to October 2022.  The study further reports that most homeless persons would welcome permanent housing if it was offered to them. (See “Recent Trends Among the Unsheltered in Three Los Angeles Neighborhoods”)

Also, there are no vacant parcels in CD 11 suitable for homeless housing except for the vacant parcels at LAX. The August 10. 2021 City Administrative Officer’s report assessed 14 publicly owned cites in CD 11 and found that 10 of the sites were “infeasible” and 4 were “under assessment.”  All 4 were at LAX. The January 14, 2022 Controller Ron Galperin’s Report “City Properties Available for Homeless Housing and Services”  found no suitable sites in CD11 except a parking lot at 2010 S. Pisani Place in Venice and the parcels at LAX. The parking lot has homes on 3 sides which makes it unsuitable despite the Controller’s contrary conclusion.  This leaves the parcels at LAX as the only suitable ones in CD 11.

The cost of the tiny homes is well known.  Last year the City Administrator emailed me spread sheets which detail the costs of developing and operating the 6 tiny homes villages in the Valley which provided approximately 900  beds. The development cost was $29,356,268 or $32,618 per bed, which is vastly less than the $500,000 per unit to build low income apartments. The operation costs for  the tiny home villages in the Valley for approximately 1 year were $18,514,028 or $20,571 per bed. 

This is  a drop in the City’s budget bucket. The City has 1 billion dollars in its current budget for homeless services. In his State of the State Address (above) the Governor proposed an additional $1 billion in the 2023-24 State Budget for the State’s Homeless Housing Assistance and Prevention Grant Program.

Los Angeles World Airports (“LAWA”), which controls LAX, has vaguely claimed that FAA regulations bar the City from using the LAX parcels for homeless services.  This claim is of dubious validity. For LAWA has failed to produce any documents to support that claim despite 8 public records requests I served on LAX pursuant to the California Public Records Act, Gov’t C. sec. 6250. 

In sum, Councilwoman Park should promptly and strongly urge the City to install the tiny homes on the vacant parcels it owns at LAX.

Clark Brown is an elected member of the Venice Neighborhood Council.

in Opinion
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