The construction of 33 tiny homes in the parking lot of the Long Beach Multi-Service Center for those experiencing homelessness could be completed by the end of this year, as the city is expected to award a contract next week for their installation.

The Multi-Service Center is on the Westside and operates as the city’s hub for homeless services.

The Long Beach City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a $2.5 million contract with Connect Homes for the fabrication and installation of the modular homes, which will consist of individual units each with its own restroom, Homeless Services Bureau Manager Paul Duncan said.

Duncan said the majority of the work is in laying the foundations for the homes and connecting the utility lines for plumbing and electricity for each unit. While a timeline hasn’t been established for the construction, Duncan said the city expects the project to be completed by this fall.

“They would come in, and that (installation) part would go pretty quickly,” Duncan said.  “A majority of the construction work on site is prepping the utilities and the foundation.”

Each unit would also include a fire suppression system, something Duncan said the city prioritized in its request for proposals for the project to ensure the safety of those people that end up living in the units and to ensure that they last. The units are also made of fire-resistant material, Duncan said.

In September, a tiny home site at the Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Hospital caught fire, which resulted in 12 units being destroyed and 10 others being damaged.

The Long Beach project’s 33 units, which will each be roughly 8-by-12 feet, will be divided among 12 structures in the Multi-Service Center parking lot. Nine of the structures will be divided into three units each, and the remaining three buildings will each have two units that are accessible for people who use wheelchairs. Those six units bring the project into compliance with a requirement that 15% of the units be accessible in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Duncan said because the units are stackable, the city could eventually go beyond the one-story layout that this project will use if it’s able to acquire more funding for a similar project in the future.

These particular units are able to be stacked as tall as three units high, Duncan said, but the city opted to go with the single-story layout because of the constraints of the space at the Multi-Service Center.

The center will be a busy space for construction this year. Duncan said the tiny home project will likely overlap with other repairs the city intends to make to the main building with a recently announced $4 million grant the city received.

In June, Long Beach received $5.6 million for the tiny home project and another $25 million it used to purchase a motel in North Long Beach to convert into additional transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness.

The remainder of the grant funding for the tiny homes will be used to pay for the staffing that will be required and other things like food, utilities and maintenance on the units. A city memo estimates that the ongoing cost to run the site is about $930,000 per year. The city projects the grant will cover about three years of operation for the tiny homes site.

Long Beach is expected to announce the location of a second emergency winter shelter in the city Friday, which could double the bed space it has available for people trying to escape the cold. It opened its first site at Community Hospital in December.

City receives $30.5M grant to build tiny homes, buy motel for unhoused people

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.