In a classic case of “the Man ruins everything,” L.A. officials have been trashing the tiny homes that contractor Elvis Summers has been building for the local homeless.
The 38-year-old contractor created a GoFundMe last spring after he built his first tiny house out of discarded materials for a homeless woman he befriended. He ended up building 37 tiny homes, which measure 6 by 8 feet, complete with solar panels, roofs, wheels for mobility and a portable camping toilet.
But in the last few weeks, city sanitation workers have confiscated at least three of the homes and discarded them. According to NPR, they’ve also tagged others for removal.
“Unfortunately, these structures are a safety hazard,” says Connie Llanos, a spokeswoman for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. “These structures, some of the materials that were found in some of them, just the thought of folks having some of these things in a space so small, so confined, without the proper insulation, it really does put their lives in danger.”
Officials have encouraged them to go to shelters instead, but it’s hard not to look at the confiscations as proof of something more sinister. Is it really better for them to be homeless than have something so small to call their own?
NPR spoke to Willie Hadnot, who was one of the people whose tiny homes were confiscated, and his quote will break your heart.
About my house, you know, you know I had a peace of mind,” he says. “I could shut the door, go lay down, quiet. And that’s what I miss a whole lot, man. I don’t want to start crying.”