Actor Jon Cryer helping LA homeless with tiny homes project

April 23, 2021
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Hope Of The Valley is a California homelessness organization building tiny homes as an innovative, affordable and scalable solution to the humanitarian crisis: a bridge between the streets and permanent housing.

“It’s impossible to avoid how dire the crisis of unhoused people is in Los Angeles. It has been a state of emergency since 2015, and that was before the pandemic,” Cryer told Fox News. “I love Los Angeles and I found myself really thinking through what day-to-day living must be like for folks on the street. It occurred to me that the overriding feeling would be one of terror.”

The actor said that feeling comes in many forms.

“Terror for your safety, terror for the security of whatever valuables you have, terror of COVID, terror of having no idea if you’ll have anyplace to exist, and all that terror is every day,” said Cryer. “The problem is so huge that it’s easy to feel helpless, but these tiny house projects are on a scale that people can wrap their heads around and make a real difference.”

Unlike traditional shelter or affordable housing projects, tiny homes take a fraction of the time to assemble at a fraction of the cost. Each tiny home comes equipped with two beds, storage space, two electrical outlets, heating, air-conditioning, four windows and a locking front door.

Each resident living in a tiny home has access to a full array of social services including case management, housing navigation, mental health services, substance abuse counseling and job training and placement.

Rowan Vansleve, chief financial officer of Hope Of The Valley, told Fox News: “This allows us to help deal with the underlying issues that may have put them on the streets to begin with and connect them with resources to ensure that placement in permanent housing is a permanent solution.”

But Vansleve added, the tiiny homes are not meant to be a long-term solution.

“Tiny homes are currently intended for interim housing.  Within a 4-6 month period,” said Vansleve, “the majority of tiny home residents will be placed into permanent housing and the unit will be filled with another deserving client seeking to end their homelessness.”

The homes are manufactured and built by, and Vansleve noted that they do not take long to construct.

“When they arrive on-site they are built in less than one hour with minimal tools,” said Vansleve. The homes are outfitted with beds, climate control, safety features and electricity and are all “ready for resident move-in.”

The tiny homes are being built by the city of Los Angeles in communities throughout the area.

“The Chandler Boulevard Tiny Home Village in North Hollywood opened in February of this year. It has 39 units. Another village is underway at Alexandria Park and will be the largest tiny home village in California with over 100 units,” said Vansleve. “There are currently two more under construction in Reseda and Tarzana due to open in the next six months.”

The homes are rent-free, and the city and the organization are working together in unison to make the project vital.

Said Vansleve: “We have been contracted to provide client services and operate the site including maintenance and security. The maintenance of the site is part of the public-private partnership with the city. The city will be responsible for some of the aspect but the charity will also take some of this responsibility.”

Hope Of The Valley has raised roughly $117,000 to help subsidize the opening and ongoing operation of the villages.

“It takes a village to build a village,” said Vansleve.

The villages are a public and private partnership: funding comes from city contracts, private foundations, local individuals and businesses.

Cryer was eager to lend his celebrity name. “We’re starting with funding four tiny houses, but will be funding more shortly, as well as holding fundraising events.”

The former “Two and a Half Men” star is excited to make an impact and he’s passionate about fighting homelessness.

“If we make people feel just a little bit less helpless, we’ll have succeeded. And that goes for both the folks who get housing and the folks who get the opportunity to help,” he said. “…These are our neighbors. This is our community.”

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