My ‘bicycle camper’ was recognized by quite a few web sites. In some of the comment sections several people were thinking it would be a good idea to make a similar push version for a homeless person. After surfing the web I came across a site called ‘Designboom’. This site had a challenge for designers. It was called ‘Shelter-in-a-cart’.
The challenge was to design a cart that would meet the demands for the ever expanding homeless society, creating a substitute for the common grocery cart sort of speak, where as this new cart would be a recyclables collection cart by day for an income, then transform into an enclosed shelter at night for sleeping.
My original intent was to design and construct a simple, light weight, insulated box on wheels geared for the northwest climate that an urban street person could reside in (with all the comforts of home of course) and have an area to display and sell handmade wares. I’ve seen seen the homeless make wire sculptures, wood carvings etc. One could also make alcohol stoves from aluminum recycled cans and peddle them as emergency stoves.
Many homeless people are actually more creative than you might think, and not all want to beg or go rummage around in trash cans all day for a living. Homeless people have pride too! Also, this I think would make a better connection with the public.
This was my first prototype, using a door for the base and some old paneling I had kicking around.
The wheels were purchased at Harbour Freight. One inch box steel was used for the floor base and the back wall.
Removing the sink, or bread pan, reveals the trash can. By removing the propane stove you can access an extra propane cylinder, paper towel, two rolls of toilet paper and trash bags. This view also shows the 5 gallon water storage tank, later I plummed in a faucet that goes to the bread pan sink.
The roof acts as a rain catcher. When it starts raining, I turn a valve to stop the flow to the collection tank. This then drains to the ground flushing any crap on the roof. A few minutes later I turn the valve back on to collect free water. Once the tank is full it has an over-flow feature that allows excess water to drain to the ground. Two screens filter the water. This water is not intended to drink, unless filtered more, bleached or boiled.
The Homeless Shelter measures 78″ long, 36″ wide and 51″ tall. The sitting room is 42″wide. The wheels are 8″ in diameter and lockable. The unit rides 9.5″ off the ground.
So, what started as something that was suppose to be simple and cheap, well, let’s say I got a bit carried away. Knowing this was going to be around a while, I opted to make it nice.
What we have here is the Cadillac of homeless shelters!
A manufactured unit similar to this lay-out could be made of sprayed fiberglass, poly roto mold or from coroplastic sheeting. The latter can be made in a variety of thicknesses, color, (even camoflage laminate) , with UV protection and fire retardant additives too.
Using fluted coroplastic I can see these panels machine routered, creased, folded and hot welded to the desired shape. The storage compartments and counter could be of the same material or use sprayed fiberglass for durability.
This is just an overkilled conceptual prototype, but it does show the many possibilities of creating a small mobile home for city street dwellers.