LA pays big bucks to build tiny homes for homeless

39 planned properties that measure 64 sf will each cost $130K to build

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti (Getty)
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti (Getty)
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti (Getty)

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti (Getty)


In Los Angeles, a planned tiny home village for the homeless is costing the city big bucks.

Each of the 39 properties in the city’s first tiny home village, scheduled to open in January, is costing about $130,000, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The shed-like homes are less than nine feet by eight feet and total 64 square feet. Other cities have developed similar tiny homes for about a tenth of what L.A. is paying to develop them, according to the report.

The units themselves are relatively cheap — L.A. is paying Washington-based company Pallet about $8,600 each for them. The high overall cost of development is because of the cost of infrastructure around them.

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The contract to prepare the inaugural site is worth $1.5 million. Then there’s $122,000 for underground utilities, $253,000 for concrete foundations, $312,000 to build an office and staff restroom, $1.1 million for mechanical, electrical, and fire alarms, the report noted.

Another $626,000 is allocated for permits, fees, designs, project management and inspection costs.

High development costs plague affordable housing projects in L.A. as well, often making them too pricey to develop. That roadblock contributes to the overall shortage of housing in the region.

City Attorney Mike Feuer said L.A. did all it could to reduce costs, “but not at the expense of safety and hygiene, or of greater overall costs.” That could have included relaxing building code requirements for stormwater runoff and parking, for example.

Other jurisdictions that have purchased similar shelters have not provided as robust infrastructure for its villages.

The city plans to open more villages next year and expects to spend about $82,000 per unit if bids come in on budget, according to the Times.

[LAT] — Dennis Lynch 

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