Homelessness is one of the most pressing issues that Southern California is facing today. But thanks to the brainchild of Washington-based company Pallet and city officials’ efforts, a probable solution to this dilemma seems to have been found.
The population of homeless people in Redondo Beach is estimated to be under 200 people – a small number compared to other California cities. However, city officials wanted to take a proactive approach by experimenting with innovative ways to address this growing problem.
Instead of just waiting to see what happens, Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand wanted to provide a solution.
And that solution came in the form of tiny houses made from pallet shelters erected on Kingsdale Avenue. These 8-foot-by-8-foot cabins were originally designed as temporary shelters for disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina to provide a solution that allowed victims to preserve their privacy and dignity as they are recovering from trauma.
And over a decade later, the idea of using them as homeless shelters was introduced by the employees of Pallet, a “social purpose company” that employs individuals who struggled with addiction, have been incarcerated, or experienced homelessness themselves.
“Our employees were the ones who said, ‘This is amazing. This is exactly what’s needed – this sort of temporary, stabilizing place where we can have shelter and keep our things and that’s what was missing in our story,'” said Pallet CEO Amy King.
Each unit can be set up and be ready for use in a matter of hours. They are made of aluminum, which is rust-proof, and each panel is made from non-organic, fiber-glass like material. They’re made to be stored flat and should last about 10 years.
Pallet units are equipped with two beds, mattresses, shelves, a heater, an air conditioner, and electrical panels. They can also be easily sanitized between users.
“They were so grateful to have a door and a lock because it felt like they could leave their things and go get services and not worry about their stuff,” King said. “They could feel safe sleeping at night. It’s a game changer.”
Aside from giving them a place to stay, the city brought in portable toilets and mobile shower services for the homeless.
These shelters are designed for people who need temporary help. The vision is that this community will serve as a stepping stone to getting permanent housing.
Riverside County has installed 30 Pallet units in March. Los Angeles already has several sites planned for early next year.
The Pallet shelters in Redondo Beach will remain there for six months, and then the city council will reevaluate. But if it needs to be moved, these homes can easily go with it since they can be quickly disassembled and put back together.
About 30 of these units can fit in a semi-truck, making deployment and storage easy.
Although Redondo Beach has a small homeless population, it’s great to see city officials and companies like Pallet being proactive about it instead of looking the other way.
Learn more about this wonderful project by watching the video below from ABC 7.