Backlash over high cost of tiny houses

LA Councilman was “stunned at the price tag” of each 64-sf shelter to house homeless; calls on city to lower building costs

City Councilman Paul Koretz (Wikipedia Commons, iStock)
City Councilman Paul Koretz (Wikipedia Commons, iStock)

A Los Angeles City Councilman wants the city to find ways to lower the proposed costs of building temporary “tiny home” villages to house the homeless.

City documents first reported by the Los Angeles Times found that each 64 square-foot shelter would cost $130,000, when factoring in the infrastructure required to create the community. Councilman Paul Koretz said he was “stunned at the price tag,” according to the Times.
Some other cities have been able to build out the tiny homes for a tenth of that sum. The structures are manufactured by a company called Pallet, and cost only $8,600 each.

The high cost of constructing L.A.’s first village is the result of other expenses, such as building a concrete foundation for each structure, utilities and site preparation.

Koretz’s motion asked several city departments to “develop alternatives which can bring the per unit cost down to the $17,000-$22,000 range,” as seen in other cities.

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Koretz said the concrete pads required for the homes could be an issue. They “will probably make this a nonstarter at every location we have looked at,” he said. “With a couple of the property owners, we tried to sell the fact that they can just be picked up and moved and a couple days later you would never know they were there.”

City Attorney Mike Feuer said officials did all they could to reduce the overall price tag, “but not at the expense of safety and hygiene, or of greater overall costs.”

The number of homeless in L.A. County was up to 66,500 as of January and there are concerns that number could balloon in coming months because of the pandemic. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch