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Mon, Apr

Pallet Shelters: A Rapid Response Solution to Homelessness, Says CEO Amy King 

LOS ANGELES

HOUSING - As the public waits for real solutions for the homeless crisis here in Los Angeles, Pallet Shelter is a Public Benefit Corporation working to build supportive, interim shelter for displaced communities while giving people a fair chance at employment. Pallet Shelter has built over  4000+ shelters, including 121+ villages, in 24 states and 86+ cities. 

We decided to reach out to Amy King and ask her some questions about her product as they were rolled out here in downtown Los Angeles. For the key to construction of Shelter Villages is this rapid response and the quickness of removing individuals from tents and RV’s to clean, new construction that will include on-site social services as well as amenities such as showers, laundry and alike as well as a “stable food source” and an ability to receive job opportunity assistance that eventually creates a path to permanent housing. 

For making available community rooms and easy access to personal hygiene is critical in providing an environment that is conducive and constructive. 

The question of course is where to site such villages and how to pay for construction of such temporary solutions that bear a striking resemblance to the current bridge housing initiatives we have here in Venice and in each of the fifteen council districts. Federal funding through community block grants is one funding source, but with Los Angeles already appropriating $1.3 billion dollars annually, the dollars seems to be the last obstacle rather than the first.  

For more information, visit: https://palletshelter.com/.

Below is the interview with CEO of Pallet Shelter, Amy King: 

 

Why do pallet shelter occupants transition so quickly to permanent housing?  

Pallet works with over 80 dedicated service providers who provide the wrap-around services village residents need to stabilize and transition to permanent housing and productivity. These services include site safety, housing and employment navigation, health care, and government identification and benefits. Through these services, people not only have what they need to stabilize, but also the right support to take that next step towards finding permanent housing and employment.  

What is the cost per unit and how many have been constructed to date and where are the locations? 

At this time, Pallet’s S2 shelters for California are priced at $18,900 for the 70-square-foot Sleeper, $22,000 for the 120-square-foot Sleeper, and $48,500 each for the 120-square-foot EnSuite. The contract award and latest pricing details can be found on the California Department of General Services website.  

Since 2020, 14 Pallet shelter villages have been built across Los Angeles that feature Pallet’s initial shelter design. Nationwide, Pallet has built more than 120 shelter villages across 86 cities.  

Are the homes reusable when someone transitions? 

Yes – Pallet shelters are interim housing solutions designed to help people stabilize while they transition to permanent housing. Once a resident has transitioned out of a shelter, that shelter then becomes available for another person to use. 

What is the square footage and amenities of each unit? 

Pallet’s new S2 shelters are available in 70-square-feet and 120-square-feet options.  

The 70 Sleeper can house one or two people, and is built with non-organic materials designed to be energy efficient and withstand a variety of weather conditions. The 70 Sleeper features heating and air-conditioning, energy-efficient windows, an integrated customizable shelving system, interior lighting and convenience plugs, lockable doors, and other safety features.  

The 120 EnSuite shares the same standard features, but also comes equipped with a bathroom that has a toilet, shower, and sink with its own on-demand electric water heater.  

What is the timeline from order to fulfillment? 

The typical lead time is 8-10 weeks for sleeping units and 8-12 weeks for bathrooms. In instances of emergency response, shelters can be shipped within a few weeks. In 2024, we will be building a safety stock of 100 shelters stored at our manufacturing headquarters and will also build a stock of hygiene units to have on hand for emergency purposes. 

Once shipments arrive at their destination, Pallet can put up each sleeping shelter in about an hour and build an entire village in just days!  

How many pallet homes are in a particular village? 

Each site looks different and varies in terms of the shelter count and service provider staffing the operations. Pallet has constructed villages with a few dozen shelters up to one hundred or more.  

Since 2020, Los Angeles has built 14 Pallet shelter villages located across the city that feature its initial shelter design and currently have residents living in them. 

Are these single-tenant structures? 

Pallet offers both single-tenant shelters designed for one person or couple, as well as larger shelters suitable for up to four people for use by families.  

Are they air-conditioned in a place like LA? 

All Pallet shelters come equipped with high-efficiency air-conditioning and heating systems as standard features.  

Must the occupants be clean & sober? 

The majority of Pallet shelter villages have a low barrier to entry, which we believe is crucial for people to stabilize so that support services can be wrapped around them.  

Some villages have specific service provision requirements, such as sites for people in sobriety or who are domestic violence survivors and need more specialized services. It depends on what the community needs and what the jurisdiction determines to be most important. Pallet is not responsible for site selection or intake standards for individual sites. These are designed by the appropriate local officials and managed by the local contracted service provider who runs the site. 

(Nick Antonicello covers the issue of homelessness, encampments and RV’s. A thirty-one year resident of Venice, he can be reached via email at [email protected])