Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Two Los Angeles city councilmen Tuesday called for the removal of small wooden dwellings built for the homeless in San Pedro and other parts of the city, apparently inspired by a viral video showing a man building a similar house for a homeless woman in South Los Angeles.

Councilman Joe Buscaino questioned the legality of the shed-sized homes, which are typically placed in parking spaces next to sidewalks or other public areas.

The motion, seconded by Councilman Mitch Englander, calls for the city attorney to “report on the legality of the placement of such structures in both the public right-of-way and on private property, and recommend removal protocol for city departments to follow.”

The motion will be taken up by the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee and the Homelessness and Poverty Committee.

Buscaino wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday that he “cannot support the placement of these tiny houses on our public streets.” and calling for them to be “removed immediately.”

Calling them a “threat” to public safety, Buscaino said he wants city attorneys to “confirm the legality of these structures” and wants the houses”removed immediately because I do not believe they are a solution to the homelessness epidemic we are currently experiencing in Los Angeles.”

Buscaino wrote that the right solution should be to build “more permanent supportive housing which is a proven, effective means of reintegrating chronically homeless individuals and families.”

The homes have generated some consternation among San Pedro residents, council aides said. The Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Watch recently posted pictures of the homes on their Facebook page, which has so far generated about 300 comments, according to Buscaino spokesman Branimir Kvartuc.

Others in the district may be in support of the homes, Kvartuc added. The Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council tonight will be considering supporting a “Tiny Houses Project” to build the small houses.

The group that circulated the viral video, Starting Human, posted a another video showing ongoing construction of small homes under a freeway in San Pedro, apparently at the request of a local neighborhood council.

Kvartuc said those homes have since been damaged and new homes have popped up elsewhere in San Pedro.

— City News Service 

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