The Los Angeles VA office has partnered with a non for profit to offer a safe tiny home community for homeless veterans across the nation. The concept is the first of its kind. And it’s aiming to help vets transition to financial stability and independent living through structured programs and one on one support.
At a Glance
- The LA VA office is offering tiny to homeless veterans after COVID mandates shut down group homes throuought the city.
- Donations covered the cost of each building.
- The homes come with heating, air conditioning, and electricity.
- The community strives to help all vets move on to forever homes.
Los Angeles Community is Helping Homeless Veterans Transition to Forever Homes
The community sits directly behind the LA Veteran Affairs building. And rows upon rows of white metal pallet shelters fill the grounds. Currently, it’s the only tiny home community in the entire country that is run by the VA with homes reserved strictly for homeless veterans.
The idea was born after COVID shut down group shelters, forcing veterans to move into tents on the streets. When that happened, the city knew it needed to find a solution that would get the former soldiers into a safer situation. So with the help of Care Treatment Rehabilitation Services (CTRS), it got to work last fall.
HOMES FOR VETERANS: Known as the tiny home village — a service program in Los Angeles is providing homeless veterans with a place to stay. pic.twitter.com/PuiSNOZJkn— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) March 12, 2022
According to Shannon Santi, who heads CTRS, private donations paid for every single home. Over the months, money has flooded in from schools and businesses. And even former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger donated $250,000 to build 25 homes for Christmas last year.
“We owe everything to our veterans. They’ve sacrificed their lives, their family hoods for us and our freedom,” his son Patrick told FOX LA. “It’s the holidays, anything we can do to make other people’s week a little better and happier. It’s all good.”
CTRS Offers Programs to Help Vets Transition to Financial Independence
The buildings are equipped with heating, air conditioning, and electricity. And the community also offers regular access to medical care, behavioral health services, and housing services.
But while the space is safe and inviting, it’s only meant to be a stepping stone to a forever home. Through the program, more and more veterans are gaining employment and moving on to bigger homes in the city.
As resident Michael Shay says, the community has helped him gain the confidence to understand that he deserves more than a couple hundred square feet. And while he appreciates his temporary house, he looks forward to the day that he gains keys to something better,
“You know, the longer I became homeless, the more undeserving I felt,” resident Michael Shay told CBS News. “So the more times I close that door, the more I started to feel I deserved a home.”