California beach town erects village pallet shelters to tackle local homeless population

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A resort town in California has created a village of 15 pallet shelters with on-site security and case managers to house some of its growing homeless population.

Renondo Beach has fewer than 200 homeless people, but wanted to tackle the growing need for shelter that had been made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 8-by-8-foot cabins were created by Pallet, a Seattle-based company, and originally designed to help with disaster relief following Hurricane Katrina.

Samantha Krisa, 28, was among those who received her keys to one of the cabins this week. “It looks a lot bigger than it looks on the outside,” she told the Daily Breeze. “It’s awesome.”

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Renondo Beach has set up 15 pallet shelters with on-site security and case managers to house a portion of its growing homeless population. 8ft versus 8ft homes can accommodate two people

The 15 units of Renondo Beach began accepting residents from Monday

The 15 units of Renondo Beach began accepting residents from Monday

Aluminum structures are designed to be stored flat and assemble quickly, making it easy to set up small villages and then move them around if necessary, says designer Brady King.

Aluminum structures are designed to be stored flat and assemble quickly, making it easy to set up small villages and then move them around if necessary, says designer Brady King.

She had spent the past four years living on the streets and slept most nights under a lifeguard station.

“It’s a place to sleep and it’s huge,” Krisa said. “That’s really all you need is a place to sleep. You can’t sleep on the streets as a girl and feel good.

“It’s my own space,” she added. “It’s almost like a sanctuary. I can breathe and I don’t have to think of anyone.

Aluminum structures are designed to be stored flat and assemble quickly, making it easy to set up small villages and move them around if necessary.

“It’s meant to be palletized,” said Brady King, who came up with the design in 2005, “so you can get as many flat packs on a pallet as possible. “

The idea of ​​using them to house the homeless population came from Pallet’s own employees, many of whom were homeless themselves.

King describes the company as a “social enterprise” where 90 of the 100 employees have been incarcerated, struggled with drug addiction or experienced homelessness.

“Our employees are the ones who said, ‘This is amazing. This is exactly what we need – that kind of temporary, stabilizing place where we can have shelter and keep our things and that is what was missing in our story, “” Amy King, CEO of Pallet, said at ABC 7 Los Angeles.

The site was erected a few weeks ago and began welcoming its first residents from Monday.

Krisa’s arrival marked the tenth resident to receive the keys as site coordinators face delays in finding at least one resident for shelter by the end of the year in order to receive federal relief funding related to the coronavirus.

The first stage of the project was funded with $ 300,000 in block grants for community development and $ 410,000 in county grant funds, according to The Beach Reporter, which covers fencing, 24-hour security and three meals. per day for the first six months of the project. .

The CARES Act fund also provides $ 420,000 to cover investment costs.

The 8-by-8-foot cabins were created by Pallet, a Seattle-based company, and originally designed to help with disaster relief following Hurricane Katrina.

The 8-by-8-foot cabins were created by Pallet, a Seattle-based company, and originally designed to help with disaster relief following Hurricane Katrina.

Each is equipped with bunk beds, shelving, heating, air conditioning and electrical panels

Each is equipped with bunk beds, shelving, heating, air conditioning and electrical panels

The Renondo Beach shelter is being tested for six months

The Renondo Beach shelter is being tested for six months

“We had a growing homelessness problem and we needed a solution,” said Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand.

“And we really didn’t want to just wait and see what would happen, we wanted to take a proactive approach.”

The new site will also pave the way for the city to enforce anti-camping laws.

According to the Beach Reporter, Renondo Beach will be authorized by the courts to begin enforcing the law – and prosecuting violators – if it can provide beds for around 60 percent of its homeless population.

“Times are changing,” Brand added, “and the days of ignoring this problem in the hope that it wouldn’t affect us are over.”

The site, which was approved by city council in October, will be used by those who need only temporary help and will serve as a stepping stone to more permanent housing.

The units themselves are aluminum, which will not rust, and are expected to last up to ten years, accommodating two people each.

Each is equipped with bunk beds, shelves, heating, air conditioning and electrical panels.

There are also on-site toilets, showers, and 24-hour security. There is a 10 p.m. curfew and visitors and the use of drugs and alcohol are not allowed.

Pallet shelters have already been installed in other parts of California and Oregon

Pallet shelters have already been installed in other parts of California and Oregon

The Renondo Beach shelter will also include a unit for an on-site manager

The Renondo Beach shelter will also include a unit for an on-site manager

The units are aluminum, which will not rust, and should last up to ten years

The units are aluminum, which will not rust, and should last up to ten years

Yet what is important for those who stay there will be a door and a lock between them and the outside world.

“They were so grateful to have a door and a lock because they felt like they could leave their stuff and go get services without worrying about their stuff,” King said. “They could feel safe sleeping at night. He’s a game changer.

“I’ve had my things stolen so many times,” said another new resident, Sean Serino, 31.

He’s been on the streets for five years after his parents foreclosed on their home and went bankrupt when he lacked a few credits to earn a political science degree from UCLA.

“I find a hiding place where I don’t think anyone will know and it is stolen or thrown away. It helps you get back on your feet because you can sleep.

The village was assembled by the South Bay Galleria, in what was part of a construction site between a cemetery and a railroad track, to keep it away from residents and businesses after complaints from residents at subject of the original suggestions.

The first Aviation Park site was shot down because it was too close to a preschool, while two other waterfront locations faced opposition from local business owners who said the The shelter did not belong near the “crown jewel of the city”.

“It’s a tourist destination,” said Mayor Brand. “We are trying to market this place. It is simply inappropriate to have it on our waterfront when we are trying to market it.

Units can also be converted to accommodate a single person with a desk

Units can also be converted to accommodate a single person with a desk

The refuge has a fence, 24 hour security and three meals a day

The refuge has a fence, 24 hour security and three meals a day

However, the move is still being pushed by some members of the city council.

“Nobody wants them in their neighborhood next to them,” said council member John Gran. “It’s not like we’re going to find a place equidistant from everything… You have to get over the fact that you don’t want it near you.”

According to The Beach Reporter, residents also expressed concern that the new shelter would attract more homeless people to the area after a new location nearby in Venice sparked a wave of crime and a camp on the streets. surrounding areas.

“It’s a pilot program,” said City Attorney Mike Webb. “If this makes matters worse, we should have the right to shut it down.”

Still, Amy King told the Daily Breeze that they haven’t yet had a single unsuccessful install, even with major opposition beforehand.

The Renondo Beach shelter will remain at its current site for six months before city council reassesses its location and decides whether it should be relocated.

Another $ 75,000 in funding would be needed to move them to another site.

The same type of homeless villages have also been created in Riverside County, which unveiled 30 pallets in March, and several sites are slated for Los Angeles in 2021.

Tacoma, Washington, was the first city to purchase the pallets for the homeless and they were now installed in Oregon, Minnesota and Texas.

There are also development sites in Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, and New York.

Pallet said it has provided 1,500 beds to cities and towns across the United States since the start of the pandemic.


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