Emergency Calls Are Increasing in LA’s Tiny Home Villages

Los Angeles has built 11 tiny home villages, mainly funded by the government. The Chandler Blvd. Village was the first in 2021. But as more of these communities popped up, emergency calls also increased.

Richard Clark Finds Shelter

Richard Clark couldn’t work due to an injury and ended up without a home. Luckily, he found a temporary spot in a small purple shed at the Chandler Blvd. Tiny Home Village in North Hollywood.

While small, it’s much better than sleeping on public benches. Clark is thankful for the village staff who are helping him apply for disability benefits and look for a permanent home.

Emergency Calls and Challenges

Records from police, fire, and paramedics show a continuous need for care when homeless folks move into these villages. The calls include cases of fighting, threats, weapons, suicide attempts, and overdoses.

From January to August this year, over 170 times, emergency services rushed to the Alexandria Park village in North Hollywood, with about 150 residents. Similarly, the Whitsett West Village at Saticoy and the 170 Freeway got over 160 emergency calls in the same time.

Emergency Calls Are Increasing in LA's Tiny Home Villages
Emergency Calls Are Increasing in LA’s Tiny Home Villages

Challenges and Crisis Intervention

Rowan Vansleve, from Hope the Mission, which runs four tiny home communities, isn’t surprised by these numbers. He thinks that when more than 100 people in crisis live together, the police need to step in.

Need for Mental Health Support

LAPD records suggest that about 20% of the calls at two North Hollywood villages are about drug issues or people trying to hurt themselves.

Vansleve thinks this shows we need more help for mental health. Many people in these villages have faced years of homelessness, which has deeply affected their mental health.

Pushing for Better Help

Vansleve and others believe we need mental health staff on-site every day to handle urgent needs. One resident, James Hill, feels the current staff isn’t ready for the different problems in the village.

Mixed Opinions and Concerns

While nearby residents think the Chandler Blvd. Village is better than past homeless camps, attorney Shayla Myers from the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles worries these places are becoming permanent homes rather than temporary solutions. Because housing in LA is so expensive, people end up staying in these villages for a long time.

Moving Toward Permanent Homes

Vansleve says around 11 to 14 people move from the NoHo cabins to permanent homes each month. Even though the system isn’t perfect, he thinks this success rate is better than living on the streets.

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