Sleeping on the Streets is Awful… These Pods Make it More Bearable

Detachable, temporary pods that fit against existing buildings may help solve homelessness for many people in Great Britain. Architect James Furzer won first prize in the sixth annual Space for New Visions contest for creating the H I POD project. Furzer's groundbreaking design could significantly alleviate a growing problem in Britain, as increased poverty brings greater demand for shelter from the harsh winter weather.

Photo Credit: Garry Knight via Flickr
Photo Credit: Garry Knight via Flickr

Fuzer's solution helps fill an urgent need, notes the Huffington Post. Statistically, homeless people have the much shorter than average life expectancy of 47 years, and are 35 times more likely to die of suicide compared to the average person. The homeless often feel isolated, harassed, or even insulted by other members of the public. In London, the number of homeless people increased 77 percent between 2010 and 2015 — Furzer's pods create a relatively inexpensive way to improve the lives of London's homeless population as they look for a way to get back on their feet.

These detachable pods have a sturdy base on which the occupant can sleep, a few small shelves for personal belongings, and windows to let in the sunlight; two steel beams along the side attach to the side of an existing building. These living spaces can benefit charitable groups and organizations looking for alternative ways to temporarily home impoverished people in need.

Photo Credit: H I POD via Facebook
Photo Credit: H I POD via Facebook

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Residents can control the internal temperature with blinds and three windows; the side walls have thick, solid insulation to keep out winter weather, while a trap door and ladder provide a quick way to enter and exit the structure. However, these shelters aren't paradise — they have no working plumbing, no kitchen, very little space, and are mostly made of layers of plywood. Once occupants no longer need them, the pods are completely recyclable.

Furzer's project isn't the only one that's using small spaces to give shelter to people in need. A group recently performed a social experiment in Belfast, Northern Ireland — they placed what's called a “coffin slumber box,” a 6 by 3 foot box with a solar panel and radio hookup, in the center of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The special shelter was designed for people in dire need of shelter, according to Daily Mail. There's also a Honolulu-based architecture company transforming old city buses into mobile shelters.

Shelter pods are just one example of how people are helping the homeless in compelling and resourceful new ways. You can help too. Visit the Hunger Site to learn more.

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