As Baldwin Park Tiny Homes Expand, A Resident Tells Her Success Story

Some residents have been able to move on to more stable housing, nearby

The exterior gate of Esperanza Villa Tiny Homes Village in Baldwin Park. Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog
The exterior gate of Esperanza Villa Tiny Homes Village in Baldwin Park. Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog

As the San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust develops another set of tiny homes in Baldwin Park this Fall – with 16 larger units, meant to serve families of three – Streetsblog L.A. checked in with one former resident from the Esperanza Villa, to see how things have been going at the project in its first seven months.

(For context: Esperanza Villa supportive housing opened in Baldwin Park in November 2021. It is one of several Southern California examples of the tiny homes model for providing housing for unhoused people. The tiny homes are manufactured kit designs, roughly the size of a large tool shed, with a few features inside. Proponents note that inexpensive quick build housing helps people in need – and allows cities to respond quickly to crises, though critics have raised concerns.)  

Maria Olivia told us through a translator that she came to Los Angeles from El Salvador fifty years ago seeking a better life. She lived in the Esperanza Villa tiny homes for about six months starting last November after her daughter said she would not house her anymore at her place in West Covina.

Maria Olivia, a former resident of the Esperanza Villa Tiny Homes Village in Baldwin Park. Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog
Maria Olivia, a former resident of the Esperanza Villa in Baldwin Park. Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog

She went to stay with her daughter-in-law in Baldwin Park, but that was an untenable situation, due to lack of space. Then her daughter-in-law found out about the city of Baldwin Park’s referral program for the Tiny Homes from a friend working at the City’s Senior Center. She helped her mother-in-law through the application and interview process, and Maria Olivia was able to move into the newly opened tiny homes on the eastside of Baldwin Park.

She says she was very lucky “by God’s will” to be able to stay at “Las Casitas” and appreciated the three meals provided each day. The only rules she had to abide by were no visitors inside the premises and an 8 p.m. gate closure. The units have a bed, air conditioning and heat, lights, electrical outlets, and locking doors. Restrooms, showers, and laundry machines are shared. Pets are allowed too.

Maria Olivia says she was patient and stayed beyond the shelter’s initial 90 day program on an extension while she was connected with Section 8 housing in La Puente. That link was made through the site operator, Volunteers of America Los Angeles. She told Streetsblog that not everyone who comes through is patient enough to wait for that, and some leave. Regardless, she recommends that the government build more tiny homes.

“It’s a nice setting because it gives them more privacy,” says Giovanni Bryden, Program Manager for the Villa. He says potential residents are referred by Union Station Homeless Services and Baldwin Park Police Department. At the time of our visit, Bryden said 24 of the Villa’s 25 units were filled, and many residents were being qualified for extended stays because of the difficulties of the housing market. Bryden says residents can be connected with medical, mental health, and substance abuse treatment services. The city of Baldwin Park requires background checks, and the units are meant for unhoused people living in the area.

SGV Connect is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays!


BikeSGV 2013 Awards Dinner and Ceremony

SOLD OUT!   You are cordially invited to attend Bike San Gabriel Valley’s (BikeSGV) 2013 Awards Ceremony and Fundraiser. Join us for a festive, fun-filled evening as we recognize local elected officials, businesses and advocates for their commitment to a more bicycle-friendly San Gabriel Valley. The event will be held at the historic Grapevine Arbor […]
GoSGV, an regional electric assist bike share system, expanded to it's second city in Baldwin Park. From right, Monica Garcia, Baldwin Park city councilmember, BP Mayor Manuel Lozano,  La Verne Mayor Tim Hepburn, BP Mayor Pro Tem Paul Hernandez, Veronica Lopez, representative for assembly member Blanca Rubio, and Bryan Urias,
Senior Field Deputy for LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis. Image: San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments

GoSGV Bike Share Expands to Baldwin Park

The City of Baldwin Park yesterday welcomed the GoSGV e-bike share program into the city.  The launch of the electric assist bicycle fleet in Baldwin Park makes it the second city in the SGV region to host the service. “The bike-share program will allow residents and visitors an affordable option to experience their city and […]

Metrolink Board Holds Fare Increases

Photo:SP8254/Flickr Trying to follow the lead given last year when Mayor Villaraigosa devised a way to hold off proposed and "needed" service cuts at Metro, the Metrolink Board of Directors voted last week to hold off on increasing fares for at least a month while it looks for other options. The Board was widely expected […]

Gold Line Foothill Extension Photo Tour: Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

In this fourth installment of the Foothill Gold Line Extension photo tour series, we explore planned Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) around some of the line’s future stations. Recently, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton and Aviv Kleinman joined a behind-the-scenes tour of the newest Gold Line Extension phase under construction in the San Gabriel Valley. We joined Albert Ho, head […]