Los Angeles

Tiny Homeless Houses Irk San Pedro Residents

Some people are concerned such houses will attract crime.

The houses sit on the side of a street. At 4-foot by 6-foot, they're just big enough to hold a mattress.

They're the latest attempt at getting the homeless off the street in San Pedro.

Not everybody is happy.

While some believe that tiny houses on wheels could be a temporary solution to homelessness in Los Angeles, others are concerned the small dwellings will attract crime.

"I think most people are negative on that because the fact they go in there and maybe they're using drugs or something else," said resident Gloria Vega. "It's a nuisance, or it doesn't look good."

At least three of the tiny dwellings have been spotted in San Pedro where hundreds of homeless people have been evicted from neighborhood parks, said James Preston Allen, president of the San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

"Living out here in the elements is just not an acceptable solution," Allen said.

William Hernandez, 64, who said he lost his job and his home, said he likes the idea of the tiny homes, but would not live in one so women and the elderly could use them.

"Most people say, 'we can help ourselves,'" Hernandez said. "I've got arthritis. I can't hold a tool anymore."

A nonprofit group, Helping Homeless in Need, San Pedro, came up with the project using donated funds.

Some homeless people who camp out in a park have been destroying the houses, so two of the houses are now being hidden, according to Nora Vela, who helped with the project.

The few people that live in the houses have been hiding because police will remove them, she said.

Bob Nizich, a San Pedro resident, said that homelessness in the area is a problem.

"People all sleep on the sidewalk, urinate in the trees," Nizich said. "I have an office upstairs. It smells horrible."

Signs were spotted down the street from one of the houses, asking for all personal belongings to be moved by Saturday so the city can power wash the street.

If such signs are enforced, the homeless living in the vicinity of the house may soon have to move.

Vela hopes the city will give them land for the houses so they can be used as a temporary home to transition homeless people to housing.

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