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Shopping Cart Might Be Solution For The Homeless

By Carol Forsloff     Dec 20, 2008 in Lifestyle
Hawaii, Japan, Europe and the mainland United States have homeless populations, a problem that is growing and becoming permanent in many places
But there are unique solutions to help the homeless that could be used to help numbers of them. The problem of homelessness has been increasing since the recession of the 1980’s, when homelessness became particularly visible in parts of the Northwest, such as Portland, Oregon. Now some creative entrepreneurs have come up with unusual but useful solutions to the problem. These homeless shelters may not be permanent but are a lot more attractive than dirty sleeping bags under bridges or strewn in parks.
Not long ago I visited Hawaii where I had lived 28 years. Homelessness is rampant there. The homeless have been moved out of Ala Moana Park, which is on the edge of Waikiki, the fabled tourist destination, to West Oahu, and the Waianae Coast, where homeless people camp on the beaches and along the sides of the main road. In Central Oahu there are enough homeless people to make up the size of a small town. Many of them are now accepted as permanent neighbors. People send their children to school by buses that arrive at the tent-cities to pick up passengers. Homeless shelters built to house folks who have no place to live have filled to capacity in Hawaii and other places in the country. Who would expect homelessness to be a serious problem in paradise or in Japan, long known for extended families whose members care for each other? But homelessness is a problem worldwide that experts maintain will only increase in this recession.
Creative, convertible options could help the homeless. One clever entrepreneurial site lists several of these. One of them is by designer Augstin Otegui at Urban Shell. The unique apparatus is designed to work as shelter even for different types of weather as protection from wind, snow and rain and is described as warm and snug in the cold and airy and comfortable when its hot. The nifty convertible shopping cart is also described as having an external core that allows the user to hang and arrange extra belongs to keep them close by. These are protected from the elements by protection panels and allow the homeless person to have a neat arrangement that gives them some level of dignity.
Michael Rakowitz’ ingenuous design provides a light-weight dwelling that is actually inflatable, allowing a dwelling to be moved easily. Given the mobility issues with reference to homelessness these homes to help the homeless, allow people to get up and go whenever they need to do so. The individual locates outtake ducts of a building’s heating and air conditioning system and then attaches an intake tube located on the inflatable dwelling to the vent. This provides the warm air needed in winter and cool air in summer for pennies, since the shelter is very small. Rakowitz has already given a number of these to homeless people in Cambridge, Maryland.
According to MSNBC the FEMA trailers used to temporarily Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina were found to be toxic from high levels of formaldehyde. Perhaps the options for the homeless can be used to help people who have lost their homes and need temporary shelters. They would cost less and likely have fewer problems than the FEMA trailers. At the same time, since homelessness appears to be with us for the foreseeable future, these options pose solutions for a growing problem.
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