A group of students wants to house the homeless in these light-filled $25,000 tiny homes

Nearly 47,000 people don’t have a home in Los Angeles. Instead, they resort to living on footpaths, in cars, in campers, or in tents.

A group of architecture students from University of Southern California designed affordable homes that are much more liveable. Partnering with city planners and local housing advocates, they created a prototype of a $US25,000 stackable housing pod, called Homes for Hope, meant to house the homeless in LA.

Measuring 92 square feet (about half the size of a one-car garage), it features a bed, a desk, storage, a bathroom, and an open living space. The interiors are polished and bright:

“They are meant to give the occupant the sense of safety and security they need in order to transition on to permanent supportive housing,” says
R. Scott Mitchell, a USC architecture professor.
This was the final project for the 11 students, who worked on the home as part the Homeless Studio — a class that addresses the city’s affordable housing shortage.

The students and another local nonprofit, called Hope of the Valley, are now fundraising money to build a two-story cluster of 30 pods that would stack on top of each other. The project would require $US1 million and just two weeks of construction time. They would be placed in a vacant lot in LA.

The nonprofit and the USC team are also talking with city and county officials about allocating funding from two proposals meant to curb homelessness (Prop HHH and Measure S) for the project. In the meantime, LA has been open to using city land, according to Sofia Borges, another USC architecture professor that worked with the students. If the team can fundraise enough money, it will begin manufacturing.

The homes, made from structural steel tubing and plywood, would be made in an off-site factory, and then transported and configured on-site using a forklift or small crane.

The homes can be classified as temporary “congregant housing,” which would make construction move faster, according to Borges.

“The real goal is to get people off the street. We hope to make as many of these as we can until more permanent housing comes online,” Mitchell says. “This is a hard thing to overcome with the current housing market in Los Angeles.”

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