Simple Small Sturdy Sleeping Structure

KOMO News in Seattle Washington and Martha Kang write a story about a homeless structure designed to help the homeless in Nickelsville.

The 8-square-foot structure houses the dreams of the residents at Nickelsville.

It’s called a “simple small sturdy sleeping structure,” and each resident hopes to soon call one home.

“It’s sturdy,” said resident Mike Whistler, who helped build the prototype. “It’s a lot better than a tent – I can say that much. And it’s durable.”

Photo Credits: KOMO News

Mike Jones, another Nickelsville resident, designed the structure, and several others help build the prototype, which now proudly sits outside the old Lake City fire station, the current home of the Nickelsville (tent encampment).

A mix-and-match of donated and newly-bought parts, the structure cost roughly $250 to build.

Read the complete story at the KOMO News webpage.

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kk - February 18, 2011 Reply

I do hope they think about the bigger picture and collect a window to put into each structure. Yes, it is better than a tent, but for year round shelter, it will be extremely hot in the summer months and like a cave in the winter. Think about how difficult it is for one’s mental health to be homeless, a window can help support a better frame of mind for one’s condition.

    SoPasCat - February 18, 2011 Reply

    I agree. There should be at least one small window in the front w/a curtain…It’ll be tough living in it during Summer time but Winter is harder.

Deek - February 18, 2011 Reply

Yeah- windows are def. needed- and a smaller, less-heat wasting door. $250 seems steep as I’d think more could be done with that money- but, I DO love the attempt, and the approach- a very kind, selfless, cool thing to be striving towards.

Also, there’s no way that’s 8 square feet…..

I’ll send my vid on the homeless shelter I have on display- 16 square feet- $110 to make- it too, has its limitations/shortcomings, but an attempt, I hope, in the right direction, much like this guy’s project.


liz - February 18, 2011 Reply

There is not much info here about the structure. I like to read about this kind of thing, and Im glad people are doing it, but from a tiny house reader point of view, its not much of an article about the structure.
If you are going to use other peoples articles, Could you request some additional info? I don’t know if its possible to ask the author for info like dimensions and what is inside.
Deek, I would like to see yours.

    Kent Griswold - February 18, 2011 Reply

    Very good point Liz, I was thinking more of letting people know about the project. I will see if I can get in touch and get more detailed information.

Russ - February 18, 2011 Reply

While a standard window will let in light, they also get broken. It’s hard to imagine the vandalism that goes on in tent cities and encampments if you have not been to one. People have so little, yet for some reason they have the propensity to destroy what other people have. What may be better is some type of heavy plexi with a possible wood slider to cover it. There will also need to be some form of venting for summer.

SoPasCat - February 18, 2011 Reply

Good Idea for the Homeless…Needs Very Thick Plastic Window for Seenary & Air (add Bars to window to prevent robbery)…Hope the Door has a Good Solid Lock & Not Just a Door Knob Lock.

How Warm Can a Homeless Person Live in a Small Sturdy Sleeping Structure During Winter Time, Partically in Places that Snow ?

Angie - February 18, 2011 Reply

wouldn’t anything be better than cardboard boxes under an overpass or the like?

peter - February 18, 2011 Reply

Being semi-homeless myself, I can simpithize with these people. However, it is shanty type structures such as these that leed to problems for the tiny house cause. I am living in a 4×7 homemade trailer that looks at least somewhat more presentable than the one shown in the article and I would never consider parking in some down town city parking lot and setting up camp. And if I was a homeowner I probably wouldn’t want a camp of them set up next to me. With that said, it is a noble idea people have, designing these “homeless shelters”, but I don’t see any of them being all that practical. Well, I think I’ve rambled on enough. When I get my own blog up and running I will try to elaborate more of my views. Untill them, peace out everybody.

Jake - February 18, 2011 Reply

I think the structure is bigger than 8 square feet. Eight square feet would be 2×4, hardly big enough for one to turn around in. Maybe it’s 8 feet squared- if the structure is 8×8, meaning 64 square feet. I know ‘8 square feet’ is quoted from KomoNews, but judging by scale in the image, its clearly incorrect.

An interesting idea nonetheless.

XsTatiC - February 18, 2011 Reply

“The 8-square-foot structure”

This structure is definitely not 8 square feet. 8 square feet would be 8’x 1′. Perhaps it’s 64 sqaure feet, or 8′ x 8′.

gregor - February 18, 2011 Reply

Hate to be the downer, but there is no way this will work with the present political environment.

I’ve read quite a bit about homelessness. It is crystal clear that the reason most homeless don’t even have tents is that the authorities don’t *allow* them to.

They are not *allowed* to have any sort of thing like this. Sure, you could set up this sort of thing, but the police will destroy or confiscate at the first chance, or drive the homeless away without their stuff, which is too hard to carry away with literally a second’s notice.

Or they will arrest the homeless that do this for “vagrancy” or “public nuisance” or another “disapproved individual” “existing while not white, wealthy and a wage slave for the people who are your “betters””.

This is precisely why homeless camps do not have things like composting toilets. Instead they often crap on the ground. Then they are labeled a “health hazard” and of course the public falls for that excuse hook line and sinker to justify police action against them.

Read up about the “mad housers” they are doing exactly this already, shelters for $300 or so a pop. They know that for the reasons above they will only continue to be useful for any significant period of time (months at least) under circumstances that are quite rare. So it can’t have any significant impact alone.

bill - February 18, 2011 Reply

Wow; if that was in my yard as a tool shed, I have a 50 / 50 chance my town would have me take it down. Sorry

Cheryl - February 19, 2011 Reply

Code enforcement needs to lighten up on so many restrictions. There are a lot of people hurting out there and can relate. It is time for some changes.

Deek - February 19, 2011 Reply

Here’s my tiny little temporary-shelter for the homeless (multi-faceted for other thing too)- simply to keep people out of the wind and rain in moderate climates…its only 4 feet high, but that was to save on costs, to make it lighterweight, and again, its a temp. residence anyway that isn’t meant for dancing/entertaining. $110 to make. Another $30 in plywood would double its 16 square feet to 32, but would probably prohibit it from being lifted/carried by a mere two people. Its got its shortcomings too- many I’m well aware of- but the goal was an “untent” (something more durable) for around $100, and just a few hours of work- which requires little or no carpentry experience. The stained glass window was donated- and obviously not needed.

and yeah- unfortunately, as someone mentioned, most towns/cities would never allow these structures as beneficial as they would be….chicago had a whole cool little track-side, architect-designed community of these, and ultimately they were bulldozed, or moved elsewhere….


Benjamin - February 19, 2011 Reply

A $250 large wooden cardboard box. I’m not impressed.

Deek’s place is much nicer looking but I’m assuming if it is 16 square feet and looks square, that means it’s 4′ x 4′ which means only a midget could lay down to sleep. And it looks like a person who wants a little privacy would have a challenge to apply curtains to the transparent curved wall/window/roof. Still, it looks cozy as opposed to the plywood box in the article.

Deek - February 19, 2011 Reply

yeah- its small (my version)- def a downside- but I’m 6’4″ and curled up inside, its not too bad- esp. as compared to the alternative- sleeping outside in the rain- again, its a temporary shelter, and my goal was to build something quick for $100. I also should have mentioned that its only a prototype for a larger one that just as easily could be made with 8′ long plywood/curved sides….and a non-clear roof (if desired (all depending on where you want to park it).
Obviously I also wouldn’t paint it bright orange- you don’t want to attract any unnecessary attention.
Not really 100% finished with it either, and the low-end kick-plate area (the bottom wooden plate where the front roofing ends) is designed to be expanded on, for leg room- just haven’t gotten to that.
Anyway, thanks for checkin’ it out.

This, as mentioned, is kinda a multi-faceted design also geared towards being one of the easier to build treeforts for kids (for not-so-handy parents). Just pre-fab it, and stick it on top of an already built, small, tree platform.


ron - February 20, 2011 Reply

I like small homes(actually i like a paid for home)you could stack a small amount of straw bales together and have better insulation,seen free plans for emergancy shelter out there.anyhow the code and permit minded folks well find you!it dosent seem to matter how far away from citys you get!i think in arizona you need a minimum of 800 sq feet and about a 1500 dollar permit just to start.yeah im with you its silly.ive heard horror storys of daily fines for un permited shacks built in the sticks.i guess thats why things are built on trailers.check out gardendomes,com

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