Arcadia Residents’ Public Forum on Homelessness


Kira Camacho, Staff Writer

The Tiny Homes project has been a subject of much controversy lately. To let citizens of Arcadia voice their opinions about this topic, Arcadia’s City Council held a public forum on August 7; it covered plans on dealing with the homeless problem within our city and the Tiny Homes project. The entire recording was streamed live on Zoom, and Arcadia residents were able to view the discussion take place. The forum was heated, with both sides voicing their doubts and concerns in figuring out  what to do about the rising issue on homelessness throughout Arcadia and Los Angeles County.

“The forum came as the next step in a months-long debate over how to address the issue” reported Annakai Geshlider. 

This public forum was divided into seven sections, specifically on “public safety, crime, and encampments; maintenance and encampment clean-up; homelessness and property values; statistics and services related to Arcadia’s unhoused residents; housing for the unhoused; and library and museum services.”

The Tiny Homes project is a housing development that would address the need for emergency housing. This project would have about 15 shelters with food, restrooms, showers, possible laundry, case management, security, and other services that deprived individuals need.

Citizens of Arcadia experiencing homelessness will have priority in this shelter. The Union Station Homeless Services would also use their list of homeless residents from Arcadia, who qualify for  this type of housing. Once someone is placed into a tiny shelter, a case manager will continue to work with the individual to secure more permanent housing. All of this would be paid for by grant funds. 

The Tiny Homes project has not been approved yet. However, on Feb. 16, the City Council voted to submit a letter of intent to the San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments to examine the possibility of Tiny Shelters in Arcadia on County property at the Peck Park access to road site.

Homelessness is a big, and real issue in Arcadia. Currently, Arcadia has over 100 people experiencing homelessness in Arcadia. 

According to its website, the City of Arcadia is “proposing the shelters as part of a more comprehensive approach to reducing the number of homeless we have in the City. We want to fix the problem in Arcadia while we still can. We already have people on our streets doing drugs and committing small crimes as part of trying to survive. We are trying to get them off the streets to protect our community.”

Annakai Geshlider recorded Dominic Lazzaretto, Arcadia City Council’s city manager’s reasoning for the Tiny Homes project, “According to Lazzaretto, the increase in Arcadia’s unhoused population during the past few years has created the need for new solutions. In 2016, the city counted 16 unhoused residents, Lazzaretto said. In 2019, the number of unhoused Arcadians was 77. In 2020, the unhoused population reached 106.”

Despite this reasoning, the Tiny Homes project is still a controversial topic. Some Arcadia residents are protesting the project; they think the project will only invite more homeless people to Arcadia and create additional problems. Much of this backlash is due to the planned location of these Tiny Homes, along the Peck Park utility Access Road. This road is near many homes, schools, and parks. 

“We want to protect our neighbors, both housed and unhoused. And to do that we need to have some place that’s safe, clean, provides restrooms, showers, 24/7 security, housing, navigators, case managers, mental health assessments, all the things and resources that those who are unhoused need.” April Verlato, Arcadia City councilwoman, told Fox 11.

Others think that the Tiny Homes project will hurt property values. On its website, the Arcadia City Council debunks this.

“There is no evidence that a temporary shelter negatively impacts property values nearby.  On the other hand, homeless encampments on sidewalks, in parks, and in business districts do tend to bring down property values because they are seen as a sign of economic distress in the area.  One of the primary reasons the City is contemplating the Tiny Shelters is to protect and enhance property values.”


Graphic courtesy of PXFUEL.COM