TARZANA, Calif. — A new tiny home village, courtesy of Hope of the Valley, opened in Tarzana, with 75 64-sq. ft. pallet shelters.
One of the arguments against these tiny homes is whether or not they're liveable.
After a day out and about rolling around North Hollywood, Tiffany Windsong couldn't be more relieved to have a place to come home to that’s safe and secured, a tiny home community.
“They’ve earned my trust,” she said.
Trust doesn't come easy for a trans woman. When Windsong's family disowned her because of her sexuality, she left Oklahoma on a journey to find a place to live free and authentically.
She said, “I came to LA thinking it never rains in Southern California, boy did that song lie to me.”
Not only did it rain but the Northridge earthquake hit, and the damage left her homeless since. Traumatized from being violently attacked in shelters, Windsong mostly lived in cars and RV's.
When an outreach worker approached her about a tiny home from Hope of the Valley, she admits she was skeptical.
That is until she saw the community with her own eyes. “Finally a place that I can lay my head that’s not on concrete," she said. "Finally I can charge my wheelchair and my phones at the same time.”
Windsong will also be able to do laundry, take a shower and won't have to worry about where her next meal is coming from.
Tiny home communities have been popping up throughout the San Fernando Valley — and soon East LA — as a temporary housing solution for the ever growing homeless crisis.
But not without resistance from residents and city leaders who question its effectiveness and safety.
Two councilmembers who’ve supported the project are Bob Blumenfield and Kevin DeLeon.
Ahead of the opening of the newest tiny home site in Tarzana, they both spent the night on site getting the same experience as homeless guests like Windsong.
From checking in and wanded down for contraband like weapons, drugs and alcohol.
“It's a little odd to be patted down to come into your gated community”, Blumenfield said.
The councilmen had dinner in the common area, then prepared for bedtime in one of the cabins.
Councilman DeLeon’s district in Downtown and East LA is considered ground zero for homelessness, so he’s bringing a tiny home community to highland park this fall.
As someone who’s personally experienced housing insecurity, sleeping overnight in a tiny home DeLeon says was comfortable.
“Having an HVAC system, a bed, clean sheets etc. beats sleeping on concrete any day,” DeLeon said.
Councilman Blumenfield already has two sites in his district but it was the first time he tried it out for himself.
“It was a little different, at my house I can roll out of bed and walk to the restroom," Blumenfield said. "Here I had to roll out of bed and walk 40-feet to go to the restroom." Nonetheless, Blumenfield described his night as comfortable and dignified.
Dignity is what Windsong values most. Once she’s back on her feet, she dreams of one day replicating the tiny home concept, with a southern twist to it.
She's hoping to give other unhoused people the self-confidence she’s regained by simply having some of life’s basic amenities.