Tiny Houses Are For Rich People Only, According To LA Officials

Lauren Vinopal | March 4, 2016 - 7:00 pm

When 38-year-old Elvis Summers befriended a homeless woman in his neighborhood, she made him do more than offer some change and a humanizing smile. It got him truly thinking about how to solve the problem. So without any affiliation to the nonprofit sector or a government agency, Summers simply started a GoFundMe and built as many houses he could.

“It just got to me, you know, I’m just like, you know, everybody in this neighborhood knows you, they like you,” Summers told NPR. “Why does nobody give a crap that you’re sleeping in the dirt? Literally.” He has already given out 37 tiny 6- by 8-foot houses, which cost $1,200 each to build.

As innovative as this solution seems to one of the oldest problems out there, it’s still being met with some pushback. Recently in south Los Angeles, city sanitation workers confiscated three of the houses from a sidewalk and tagged others for removal. Connie Llanos, a spokeswoman for LA Mayor Eric Garcett, calls the structures a safety hazard. “”These structures, some of the materials that were found in some of them, just the thought of folks having some of these things in a space so small, so confined, without the proper insulation, it really does put their lives in danger.” Which begs the question, MORE THAN BEING HOMELESS DOES?! Instead, Llanos suggests homeless people take advantage of housing vouchers and homeless shelters.

To the people who occupied these homes, having them means more than any of these options ever could. “I have two windows, one on each side with blue curtains, thin enough to allow the breeze to come through,” says Kevin Green, who’s tiny house was tagged for removal, until Summers helped him relocate it temporarily. “You know, I keep my keys around a keychain that I hang around my neck. But you know, it’s a constant reminder with it around my neck that I have something that I can call mine.”

Here’s hoping it stays that way.

[NPR]