Students at USC had built portable homes in the fall as part of the Homeless Studio, a USC architecture course based out of the Martin Architecture and Design Workshop that focused on transitional housing for homeless people as they awaited more stable accommodations. After constructing the homes, which can accommodate one or two individuals, the students donated them to homeless people residing in Los Angeles. However, city officials dismantled the portable homes several weeks after they hit the streets last fall, because the small structures violated building codes in Los Angeles. Belinda Pak, a 22 USC architecture student, stated:
With just a few screws you can put a whole house together. The exciting thing is you don’t really know what it’s going to look like. It completely depends on the things that you find. You look at trash differently. We are so wasteful.
According to USC architecture lecturer Sofia Borges, the mobile houses won’t solve the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles County, where an estimated 58,000 live on the streets. Rather, the portable houses were “practice runs” for a larger project called Homes for Hope, communities of 92-square-foot modular houses meant to temporarily shelter Los Angeles’ homeless before they receive permanent housing. Since it is going to take a couple of years before accommodations can be built to house more homeless people, the goal for the USC students is to create a model for “emergency stabilization housing” while the homeless waited. The student architects said they enjoyed creating the portable houses because they rarely work with their hands in school. It’s a great concept that the USC students have come up with to try to combat the homelessness issue and it is good to hear that more people are becoming active in trying to solve the homelessness issue caused by the housing crisis.