Former homeless man invented portable shelter for those in need

08/06/2013


U.S. pensioner has created a "survival capsule" for those who, for whatever reasons, was left without a roof over their heads

Former homeless man from Utah, USA, developed the concept of mini-shelters that can be distributed to those who at the moment for some reason have nowhere to live.

"I believe that a person needs a sense of dignity for something that he can call his own, even if it is only a small shelter," said Gary Pickering, former owner of the repair shop of Pleasant Grove, Utah.

Pickering, who is now 73 years old, was technically homeless for three years after their divorce in 1980, when he lived in his studio.

"I lost my house, when I wrote to all his property to his wife, and my children," says Pickering. "But I had a roof over my head." Since his shop was located in an industrial area, he met a lot of homeless people who were living in broken machines or other cubbyhole area, and even settled four of them in his van during a particularly cold winter. He learned what it means not to have a roof over his head from the people he met, who explained that they did not want to go to a shelter for various reasons, from "They will steal my shoes" to "They do not allow me to bring my dog."

These lessons have stayed with Pickering, who as early as 2009 — long after he already got back on his feet — he saw a homeless man while driving through the nearby town of Provo. He went home and put together a two-meter residential 'cocoon' 60 centimeters wide, mostly of plywood. "But when I came back to give it to the man, I never was able to find it," he says.

After that, he decided to develop the concept of an ideal emergency shelter. And after several years of trial and error, he, in his opinion, has managed to create an optimal "survival capsule": it is a micro-house of pressed wood with a wooden frame, of a width of 120 cm and a length of 2.5 meters, and with a roof made of soft plastic.

Inside it is enough space for a sleeping bag, a lamp, a few small things, and even a specially designed portable toilet. Plus, the shelter can be connected to the electricity.

Pickering collected five such shelters, investing his own money, about $ 500 for each.

"I did not do it as a business, I do not want to have a business. I just want to inspire others, "he says, explaining that he wrote down instructions for creating such a home on DVD for people who have the money and desire to construct shelter for those who need them. Then the homeless could gradually pay off for them, "so they have little reason to be proud, and they can say" this is mine "," or could enter into a formal lease agreement.

On top of that, he adds, the shelter made on wheels, so they can be placed in empty warehouses, hangars, or on any suitable piece of land outside the city.

These temporary shelters are intended primarily for those who find themselves in an unexpected, short-term crisis. Given the fact that according to statistics, 63 percent of homeless people in Utah are not homeless temporarily, such seekers may render them extremely valuable service.

"People can find a job, and sooner or later be able to return to their homes," said Pickering. "But until then, it will help them."


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