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Formerly Homeless Man Invents Portable Shelters to Help Others

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posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 04:31 AM

Formerly Homeless Man Invents Portable Shelters to Help Others

Well, here's an ingenious idea!

It may not seem like much to someone who has never been without a place to sleep, but I was homeless for a few weeks, so I know how grateful the homeless people will be to get these!

When I was married to my first husband we had to live in our car for three weeks while he looked for a job. We had very little money, just enough to buy one meal a day, so there was no way we could rent a motel.
Let me tell you, it's no fun sleeping in a car that long. I can't even imagine not having any place at all to spend the night out of the elements!

Has anyone here ever been homeless... even for a short while?

Kudos to this man for his unselfish thoughts to help the homeless!

A formerly homeless Utah man has used his insight to create and build “survival pods,” or mini-shelters, to be doled out to people who currently have nowhere to live.
“I believe a person needs the dignity of something they can call their own, even if it’s only this,” Gary Pickering, a retired auto-body-shop owner in Pleasant Grove, told TV news station KSL Tuesday.

Pickering, 73, was technically homeless for three years following a divorce in the late 1980s, when he lived in his shop.
“I lost my home after I signed everything over to my wife and seven children,” he told Yahoo! Shine. “But I had a roof over my head.” Because his shop was in an industrial area, he got to know many of the homeless men who lived in broken-down cars or in other corners of the area, eventually housing four in his van during a particularly harsh winter.

He learned what it was like to not have a place to live, through the men he met, who explained that they didn’t go to shelters because of reasons ranging from “They steal my shoes” to “They won’t let me bring my dog.” Pickering became passionate about coming up with the perfect temporary shelter. And after years of trial and error, he believes he’s finally perfected the “survival pod”: a 4-foot-wide, 8-foot-long micro house constructed from sheets of pressed wood, a wooden frame and a roof made of soft corrugated plastic called Coroplast.

There’s room enough inside for a sleeping bag, a kerosene lamp (there are vents in the structure), several small items, and even a specially designed portable toilet. Plus, the pods can be hooked up to electricity, like a trailer, if parked on already wired property with the permission of a homeowner.

The pods are built on wheels, like trailers, to get around zoning codes for buildings, Pickering added, so they could be placed in empty warehouses, hangars or on a piece of ground just outside of a city.

Gary Pickering and one of the "survival pods" he created. Photo: KSL

The pod's cozy interior. Photo: KSL

Read more here:
edit on 8/3/2013 by sled735 because: add comment

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 04:52 AM
those shelters are awesome
i really hope everyone who needs one will get one
this story makes me happy
thanks for posting it op

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 05:17 AM
reply to post by xszawe

These do look like a good solution to the problem of keeping out the elements, but I do wonder how much better they would be than a budget tent in the same weathers and environmental scenarios.

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 05:29 AM
reply to post by TrueBrit

I'm sure they could withstand heavy winds better.

And they have a bathroom. That would be a big bonus in itself... at least I think so.

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 05:35 AM
Great Man! Great Idea!

I hope that there will be no inconsistencies about the art of use for them shelters...


posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 05:53 AM

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 06:03 AM
reply to post by spartacus699

It is wonderful to see how many people are working on different projects to help the homeless.

My guess is, we could be in that same boat if the economy keeps taking a nose dive.

God bless all these people!

ETA: Great thread, Sled. Thanks for sharing.

edit on 8/3/2013 by Mindless1980 because: add comment

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 06:35 AM
reply to post by Mindless1980

Well I think that's actually a good way to live. The less you have, the less you have to worry about in life. I figure one day when I'm older and if I don't have anything tying me down I'll live sort of like that. Live sort of between a van and a microshelter on an island somewhere, basically like a hermit. I figure that would be a fairly easy way of life.

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 07:10 AM
reply to post by sled735

if parked on already wired property with the permission of a homeowner.

There's the rub. If no homeowner would allow it (they might allow it for one day, but not for as long as needed), what city would let these shelters be placed on a sidewalk or parking lot? Personally, I'd like to see every city forced to provide a safe area for the homeless.

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 12:10 PM
I think its briliant. When I saw bikes that had different types of batteries, solar and HHO, thought of them for disalbed and basically bikes with light weight pop up tent trailers, sleeping, coffee, small fridge, running on solar/HHO back up. But then I also don't believe anyone should be homeless and that the land and resources belong equally to all. That the bottom groups of society, the bottom 20-30% income should go on strike and all get together, and refuse to cooperate with the system

In the meantime, why arent there counsels of citizens in every region donating land for the poor, ensuring it can be used multi family, and they'll need different groups, the hard core need to be separated often themselves, and then there are families and disabled. And there should be yurts, remodeled RV's, and gardens and aquaponics. And volunteers to help. Some of them just need training, opportunities to develop skills, or businesses run from their own homes/farm. Others need to be able to live in dignity and can't contribute that way.

Entitlement? The ones who think they can steal all the resources, erect laws to protect them, and then enforce slave labor for the people, who are a part of nature and can build and garden where they please, to have resources ARE THE ONES WHO THINK THEY HAVE ENTITLEMENT. Whereas citizens of this planet equally do.

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 12:12 PM
reply to post by jiggerj

Here in Canada if you had one of those on a bike and parked at mcdonalds, and it fits in a stall, you can stay overnight.

But the land usage is slavery and massive crimes against humanity and people need to do something about it, and stop their petty infighting. They are embittered because they accept the system, and have enough luck or health to continue and refuse to stop the system out of spite, instead of preventing their children from living in hell, like any good parent would.

By the way its not due to the lack of building materials that this doesnt occur its due to the lack of land rights that people can't do this

Paper mache pods, paper crete pods, very cheap to build, would work as well. Sand bags with any kind of paper mache, cob, hemp, cornhusk, cemented spray to cover works.

There are many ways to build lightweight shelters, that are water proof.

You can make them warm too.

Its the BYLAWS that need to face groups of citizens with teeth who will never elect them and if they don't listen, by a majority, ignore their unlawful laws and stand together if they try to target them.

As it is, one way is called : A Land Trust, where it doesnt belong to the people but they have rights of use nonstop, and can pass that on. Its how eco farms work. But you still have to have them make the waver on the land use.
edit on 3-8-2013 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 01:05 PM
reply to post by Unity_99

The city of Calgary built a massive brand new homeless shelter. Better to have something reasonably decent like that than to have a bunch of boxes spread around. It just wouldn't work long term. It would be too much of an eye sore. The challenge with is is one bad element attracts another and next thing you know it's a sess pool of people feeding off each others addictions and problems etc etc. Like Vancouver's hastings area. The only thing though is my guess is a lot of homeless don't want to go to those shelters, and or won't stay there very long even if they do. The reason is those shelters are cruel. They have to be inside by like 9pm, and then are woken up at like 6am and kicked out again. So like it's 6am minus 30 celcious it's completely dark out still in the dead of winter, nothing even open to go to, and yet they want to kick you outside into the elements. That's just cruel, but the ponit is they don't want the users to stay very long so they're forced to try and seek out something longer term, and or try find a job etc etc. Anyway you slice it that's got to suck. If it was me I'd just scroung around and try and get enough money to buy a van, and just live in the van. lol

edit on 3-8-2013 by spartacus699 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 01:12 PM
reply to post by spartacus699

Better than boxes sure. But not better than your own little home. And what is needed is land and resources to the people and wide awake counsels of citizens solving problems and reshaping their city counsels or village counsels.

Calgary has some prefty hefty prices for rent now. Have relatives living there. And it gets pretty cold in the winter, so understand the shelter.

We have a boarder in the house who lived in a shelter here. First of all, you only got a short while, and you couldn't go back. Apparently one shot deal. And if you were out, and accepted a bed roll these businesses were handing out, ie sleeping bag for the rain, unbeleivable, then you no longer qualified for your 1-3 months in the shelter. This was somebody on a disability at that.

Its NOT reasonable, and violates both common law and the constitution, and only the most ugly system of slavery benefits.

No, we have to stop this.

I would rather see millions stand up and say no and squat in the woods.

I would rather see all the working poor quit and let them decide how much needed work they were doing. I would define the working poor as anyone who couldn't earn enough to buy a home and have their payments and utilities below 1/3 their income.

Been waiting for people to wake up.

But even if they don't the poor, and there is enough of them, should get together and take a stand and put up shelters.

edit on 3-8-2013 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 01:59 PM
reply to post by Unity_99

I love your passion about this, Unity.

I have the same passion concerning the homeless. I once had a home-based business that I had planned to turn in to something to help them, but things didn't go as planned, so the income wasn't there to do what I wanted.

But ever since I was forced to live in that car for three weeks I have had a desire to do something to help people who needed a hand up to get back on their feet.
Still, today I struggle to keep my own head above water, so I have never had the resources to do anything major to help out.
Maybe someday I'll win the lottery.
I always said a chunk of money would go to start something for the homeless, if I ever win.

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 03:47 PM
WOW! I got an applause for this thread!

Thanks, MOD!!!

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 04:17 PM
reply to post by jiggerj

I agree, jiggerj, the shelter technology now exists! But what about the politics of it?

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 04:30 PM
There's a rather redneck-ish RV park not too far from here... near Salem, Alabama. There you will not find huge RVs but old buses, vans and pop-up campers. Each slot has electric and water/sewer. The owner uses it to give passing hitch hikers and local homeless places to get a night's sleep and a bath.

The story is of someone who tried to make a living offering an RV park to those passing on the nearby US highway... but it never went over. Then the Salem community was hit hard by a tornado (Feb 2009) that destroyed much of the little historical structures in what was once to be the county seat (Lee County).

It still exists... off that highway and the old RV park signs still hang... though time and the elements have left them almost unreadable.

This is all called from the memory of that tornado that ripped through. We went to the little antique shop right along the RR tracks after the county and state had finished... they didn't let anyone in before that.

Taking what one has and being a good neighbor is what being an American used to be about. So far as I am aware, this little backwoods refuge does not discriminate on any level and still exists to this day.

Salem Today

edit on 3-8-2013 by redoubt because: edit

posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 06:01 PM
I've met people who have stories of what the oil crisis of the 1970's was like. Some families couldn't even afford to rent a house so they stayed in decomissioned double decker buses or train carriages, in each case with all the seats removed. Just put some padlocks on the doors, put down some rug carpets, some curtains over the windows and got a gas cylinder heater and cooker and a portable toilet.

I've been homeless myself, after a new job didn't work out because I hadn't found a place to stay before signing the contract. Spent a few weeks in a B&B until I went back to my parents. I've also slept in other peoples dining room floors on an inflatable mattress. On a sliding scale of pleasantness it's something like:

street homeless < own car < sleeping on someone's floor < someone's bedroom < B&B/hotel < room at parents < camper van < own flat.

The criteria being able to wash and store food somewhere. One of these mini-cabin things looks awesome. If you could add space for a microwave/cooker/fridge/freezer and a table for a laptop/TV that would be awesome.

posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 09:10 PM
reply to post by Unity_99

Ya I hear you. The problem is we grow up in schools that teach us learned helplessness. So then we are like adult kids, atomoton robots that only know a few skills as adults. And put us in one bad situation and we have no copping skills. Most of my friends wouldn't last a week if you put them say in LA with no money and no help. Me I'm a bit of a survivalist. I'm not saying I've lived on the mean streets, but I'm pretty resourceful. I'm pretty sure I could survive almost anywhere anytime any place. I'm sure if you put me in another city with nothing within a few weeks I'd have a place to live. In a few months I'd have a job or a small business working. And in a few years I'd be fine. But most people are not that resourceful. They have no clue. So they're like birds, bears, or deers returning to where the food is hoping it will be there again. And so these homeless shelters don't have the resources to retrain everyone, so they drift around homeless for a while, and then back to the shelters seeing if they can get a handout, not much different than the seagulls that flaock to McDonlds hoping to get some fries. It's pretty sad, what are you gonna do, thats life.

posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 09:25 AM
If I had the funds to do such a charity, my best idea for a solution would be this:

Ever see those POD style hotels in Japan? Where each "room" is really a pod? Has own TV, bed, and a little storage space. So, make something like that, with a communal bathroom/shower and communal kitchen/dining areas on each floor (and a school lunch style cafeteria on the bottom floor, along with a thrift store). "Rent" could be either via programs or just small amounts (like what current Salvation Army shelters charge), etc.

And of course add drug tests, (unless in some kind of rehab program).

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