Arcadia’s Tiny Shelter Project for Homeless

Arcadias Tiny Shelter Project for Homeless

Bryan Lim, Staff Writer

The Arcadia City Council is trying to fix the issue of homelessness within the city by building multiple tiny homes on the County Land at the Peck Park access road site. This project is known to be the Tiny Shelter Project, which plans to help alleviate the situation for those currently unhoused. So far, the project has not yet been approved; however, some residents are unhappy with this proposition. 

On May 6, the City Council held a public meeting to discuss the full plan for the project. However, many homeowners oppose the idea of housing the homeless mainly due to the location of the project and the additional fear of a potential increase in city crime rates. 

The major reason Arcadia is using tiny homes as their solution is to address the need for emergency shelters as, without shelters, the homeless will have no place to go. The City Council believes that if this proposition gets approved, there will be about 15 of these homes with food, showers, restrooms, and possibly laundry. The reason that there are so few tiny homes is because of testing to see if having many tiny homes is possible. These homes will be fully funded by grants from homeless services and organizations. 

On May 16, a protest contained a large group of people who shouted the phrase, “No tiny homes,” outside of Arcadia City Council member April Verlato’s home. Verlato is in favor of the project. 

The other side of the crowd consisted of student advocates from Sunrise Arcadia, a youth-led organization that aims to advocate for “direct actionable change on a local and national level,” as mentioned in their statement on their Instagram (@sunrisearcadia). The students in support of the project chanted, “Housing haters, harm our neighbors.”

“My biggest problem with those that are opposed to the Tiny Homes Project is that many are the same people who complain to the City that we have a homeless problem, so now that the City proposes to try to address their concerns, this isn’t the solution they wanted. They have no viable solution to offer in place of it. If the City does nothing, the homeless encampments will only get worse.  It’s what has been done in the past and looks where it has gotten us,” Verlato said. 

Arcadia now has over 100 people who are homeless as of a 2020 homelessness count; and under federal law, if Arcadia doesn’t have a local shelter for homeless people, then Arcadia can’t prevent them from sleeping on the streets. The council members see this as a negative impact on Arcadia businesses and residents.

However, many residents think that this project is bad for the city of Arcadia. Some residents also claimed that the City Council didn’t consult the community, nor did they put to a vote for the recent homelessness proposal. Those residents who disapprove of this project think that it can cause a lot of damage to the community. They think that the members of the council have failed to trust the voters as, at the public hearing on May 6, more than 500 residents opposed the tiny homes project, which was claimed by a form created by activists. 

Overall, the Tiny Homes Project has sparked a lot of controversy within the Arcadia community. However, it is believed that the City Council may put a pause on the Tiny Home Project and use other solutions such as building a local shelter to fix the homelessness problem in the community.