Popping up in cities across the nation are tiny homes. Some of the words that probably come to mind are trendy, off-the-grid, or mobile. Two words that may not come to mind: homelessness solution.
Los Angeles resident T.K. Devine has set out on a noble quest to build tiny homes for the homeless. Does it sound impossible? Expensive? Well, his inspiration comes from an unlikely place: a porta potty. More than just an abstract undertaking in design, T.K. has a built a model with all the basics. The cost? About $15,000.
He’s converted a wheelchair accessible porta potty unit into a home large enough for one. A tour of the inside reveals a convertible chair which flips out into a bed. It can impressively sleep a person who is 6’1. A closet area includes a rod for hanging clothing above the foot of the bed.
Shelves, a mini-fridge, and a cooking station are also provided in the tiny house. Since T.K. had to remove the original toilet to build the home, a separate compartment is adjoined to the back of the unit to accommodate the bathroom. A small toilet and shower are housed there.been without housing himself, T.K. has an understanding of what a person in this position would need. To support his venture, he’s started a non-profit organization called Our Own Backyard Homes, which is dedicated to this project.
Citing the high amount of college students among L.A.’s 55,000 (and counting) homeless individuals, T.K. aims to provide a dignified and affordable housing option for all of the city’s underserved.
“Folks who are living it rough and living on the streets and are trying to make a better life for themselves, they need consistency. They need a good night’s rest.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help collect funds to finance the building of these homes for those who need them. On the organization’s website, T.K. explains that while tiny homes for the homeless have sprouted up in the city, they are typically parked on public streets, causing problems.
His idea is to create communities, or villages, in unused residential spaces like vacant plots of land, yards, or lots. Residents of the porta homes would not only have a secure roof over their heads, but also a secure place to park them.
Donors to the prototype’s construction can contribute actual porta-potty units, materials, or funds. Porta-potty structures will be used for future residents. Money raised will go towards completing the prototype, providing insulation, wiring, solar paneling, restroom additions, and other needs. Leftover funds will be used to create additional housing units.
After he and his team of volunteers finish building the model, T.K. plans on taking the porta home on a yearlong tour around L.A. to learn about how these tiny homes can fit into neighborhoods, and work out any kinks in the structure’s design. You can follow along online as he documents the process. An ambitious endeavor indeed!
What do you think of this porta potty project? Would you participate in a cause like this or do you think T.K. is crazy too? Tell us in the comments!