Testing Personal Homeless Shelters

canada homeless shelterThe feasibility and effectiveness of single-person mobile homeless shelters is being tested in one city in Canada.

It is part of a project designed to bring dozens of the shelters to an area frequented by homeless people in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

A prototype shelter, costing about $200 Canadian, is being tested by one homeless man. The shelter is described as being about the size of a doghouse. It’s about 3 feet high and about 6 feet long. It has axels with wheels, a locking door, a sliding window, and a sealed corrugated plastic roof.

One of the men behind the project says the shelter is more secure than a tent and stays drier. The homeless who slept in the tent for several days agrees it is better than sleeping in a tent.

One of the organizers of the shelter plan says the goal now is to raise enough money to build 40 more of the personal shelters and distribute them across the city. The organizers hope to eventually create a permanent camp in the area for the homeless.

The single-person shelter plan is the result of an unlikely union. One of the organizers is the pastor of a ministry group. The other is the spokesperson for an Atheist group. The two men discussed and put aside their philosophical differences and decided to work together to improve the homeless situation in the city.

Abbotsford currently has about 200 homeless residents. The city’s mayor says he likes the fact that people are coming up with new ideas to help the homeless but says he does not have enough yet to fully endorse the plan. He says they have to be sure the shelters are safe.

Supporters of the shelter plan say waiting for bureaucratic approval from the city will take too long and that the city has not done enough to help the homeless.