Patterson this week joined Los Angeles at the leading edge of homeless shelter construction when the containers for the first phase of the Naomi’s House women’s shelter were delivered and placed on their foundations Monday.
The first six of nine recycled shipping containers have been placed on the north, west and south sides of the property, located next door to H.O.S.T. House on South Fourth Street, with two containers placed side-by-side to form each building.
Doors and windows are currently being cut out, and interior work to add bracing, along with plumbing and electrical, will also soon be completed.
Ground preparation work for the remaining building, which will face South Fourth Street and will be comprised of the remaining three containers, will begin immediately. That building will house the facility’s office/intake area and a classroom. All four of the buildings will include sleeping quarters, a kitchenette, and laundry facilities.
The shelter will be able to house up to 25 homeless women.
The project is one of the first that contractor Bill Goss has tackled since he retired, and his first experience with recycled shipping container construction. The project has been an interesting challenge for him, he said. He has also been running the H.O.S.T. House kitchen remodel project. “So far,” he said, wryly, he and his wife “have been experiencing what it is to not be fully retired.”
Goss has always enjoyed construction, he said and added that “dealing with these metal shipping containers has been eye-opening,” as he had only seen buildings constructed with them on television.
He is currently focusing on the “challenge” of “convert(ing) these metal boxes into a place for the homeless women to live,” he said and adding that he is gaining experience with this type of construction.
He also said that the Restart students, who have been assisting with the construction of the facility, “have been a help,” adding that “they, too, need this experience in providing another home” for local homeless women.
Goss said he and his wife have felt compelled to get involved in addressing homelessness locally out of concern that “Patterson could become another San Francisco.” That city is currently working to provide safe housing to more than 8,000 homeless people during the coronavirus pandemic.
Second container building shelter project
The Naomi’s House facility appears to be only the second homeless shelter to reach the construction stage in the state. An internet search turned up one other: FlyawayHomes Supportive Housing, also in Los Angeles, which received a $1 million grant through that city’s County Housing Innovation Challenge and has completed one transitional housing project, the Steaven K Jones Supportive Community.
That group is also developing a second project: 82nd Street Development at 837 West 82nd Street in Los Angeles. The former consists of four-bedroom units; rent is $700 per bed. Rent for the second, made up of two-bedroom units, will be slightly more.
As with the Restart program, residents are provided with supportive services to assist them in making the transition to living independently.
As has occurred all along, both volunteers and hired professionals will help with the next phase of the construction: connecting the containers to their foundations and each other, cutting out doors and windows, and installing plumbing and electricity.
Once completed, each building will have a kitchenette and bathroom, along with sleeping quarters.
While the interior work on the three new buildings is underway, the ground is being prepped for the final three containers, which will become the office and classroom areas, as well as providing sleeping quarters, a kitchenette and laundry facilities.
The shelter will offer housing to approximately 25 local homeless women, who have been eagerly awaiting the facility. A number have been assisting with the various preparations that have been underway over the last several weeks, from donning gloves and shoveling dirt to helping sort many bags of donated clothing and other items.
The Restart students will continue to assist with the construction of Naomi’s House, gaining additional skills and work experience in the process.
The Naomi’s House facility is anticipated to be finished in June.