Living on the street with no place to call home is an experience many of us hope we will never go through. We also lack the perspective of someone who has had to live under those conditions. For a person who is homeless, survival is often a daily goal: Wondering where to sleep or finding a place or warmth.
One Utah man experienced that type of living up close. Now he is trying to make life safer for people who don’t always have a roof over their head.
Gary Pickering found himself without a true home after his divorce several years ago. He slept in the auto body shop he owned and also got to know homeless people who would seek shelter in broken-down cars. Pickering even let some people sleep in his van when winter weather was especially harsh. He decided to do something to help the homeless stay warm and safe. He created a survival pod.
A few years ago, Pickering created his first 2-foot-wide, 6-foot-long pod. This “survival pod prototype” was made out of plywood. It was never used and Pickering spent the next few years refining his pod idea and the pod itself. He now says he’s developed his “perfect” survival pod. The pod is a 4-foot-wide, 8-foot-long shelter made with pressed wood, a wooden frame and corrugated plastic. There is room inside for a sleeping bag and a kerosene lamp. The pod has vents to allow for the use of such a lamp. The pods are built on wheels, similar to the construction of a trailer.
Pickering has now built five of the pods, footing the bill himself (he’s recovered from his divorce several years ago). He says the shelter pods are designed to be used as temporary shelters for someone in an emergency situation.