Los Angeles

Small Shelters, Complete With AC, Built to Get High-Risk Veterans Off the Street

As part of the program, veterans are also given medical and behavioral health services.


Small Pallet Shelters built specifically for homeless veterans, with a bed, air conditioning, and most of all -- privacy -- have been shipped to West Los Angeles.

The Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Heathcare System added more than 25 shelters to its West LA campus in the Brentwood area.

They're not actually made of pallet wood -- that's the name of the company behind the build.

The idea of adding the tiny 8-foot by 8-foot shelters actually came from the vets themselves.

"Many of them had heard of other 'tiny home' communities that were throughout LA and they said, 'Why can’t we do this here?' said Chanin Santini, VA Program Supervisor.

The units cost about $10,000 a piece to construct.

The VA connects homeless veterans directly with the program and does outreach to connect them with housing options. 

Each unit has fire life safety equipment, a bed with a mattress, and heating as well. 

Veterans were being assigned units Thursday. As part of the program, veterans are also given medical and behavioral health services.

The ultimate goal is to get veterans into permanent housing while using the pallet shelters as a temporary home.

Structures eliminate a layer of anxiety for the folks who live there. They can feel safe and secure.

"Then, you focus your attention on case management, housing navigation, getting a job," Brandon Bills, Pallet spokesperson, said.

The tiny homes are reserved for “high risk” veterans, such as the disabled, transgender or female.

The units were put together quickly after a big cleanup of a makeshift village of tents along San Vicente was scheduled to happen this week.

The skiploaders moved in Monday, and the last of 70 or so homeless vets had to be moved on to the VA property.

"Our average stay is about 30 days in there. Then, they move on to other types of housing," Department of Veterans Affairs' Robert Mckenrick said.

"I’m very thankful that I have a place to live," said Douglas Steven Bue, an Army veteran.

Bue is one of the vets who had been out on that sidewalk, but he did not opt for a tiny shelter.

"It’s just too damn small," he said.

He has a tent, and while on campus, he has access to the VA's medical treatment, case managers, social workers, showers, restrooms and security.

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