Tiny houses are hot among the eco-conscious hipster types these days — the pared-down lifestyle required to live in them discourages consumerism. Not to mention the fact that they’re freaking gorgeous, in a very cozy sort of way. But could tiny houses also help solve the problem of rampant homelessness?
Elvis Summers believes so. The founder of Starting Human and My Tiny House Project L.A. (MYTHPLA) has already built 37 tiny houses for homeless residents of Los Angeles, and isn’t about to stop — in spite of clashes he’s had with everyone from local gang members to the city government.
“Nobody should be homeless,” he told Uproxx. “Especially in one of the richest countries in the world.”
Summers was inspired to build his first tiny house for Irene “Smokey” McGee, a woman who lived in his neighborhood.
“Nobody seemed to care that she was sleeping in the dirt,” he explains. So he did what he felt was right: he went to Home Depot, picked up plywood, and got to work building her a place she could call her own — a place with four walls and a door that locked.
“The housing first model works,” he says. “Give people a safe place to be of their own, and they’re going to be self-motivated to better their lives.”