Temporary housing reimagined

September 25, 2018 05:30 PM

As local shelters continue to be overcrowded, advocates are considering innovative temporary housing.

On Tuesday, members of the House of Mercy in Rochester met with Bill Young, the co-creator of Shelter 2.0.

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It is a digitally fabricated transitional shelter which can be quickly deployed for emergency housing. Already, the plywood-based structures are being used around the world, especially after natural disasters.

The co-founders of Shelter 2.0 wanted to put out digital designs for anyone, anywhere, to use.

"It is our hope that by offering our designs and cut files to anyone who needs them or has the desire to help those in need, that we can help change the way the homeless and displaced are provided for in the future," stated co-creators Bill Young and Robert Bridges on their website.

Young said on Tuesday, "We said 'let's make this an open source, available to anyone in the world.' We give them all the files to do it, the instructions, see what happens. There's a bunch made in Haiti, a group in Lima, Peru, and we just got contacted by people in Jamaica wanting to use the plans to build pop-up bakeries near an orphanage."

Groups, like House of Mercy, can access the designs and then cut out material according to those plans."You don't need a structural engineer, just a building that people understand," explained Young.

The digital technology that fabricated the shelters can also be used to make other items; such as furniture, signs, or boats.

"He has ways that simplify building and could give us, or another organization interested, the chance to start vocational carpentry training for those who are homeless. And we would have a product to sell at the end of it to make it sustainable," said Brian Keene, House of Mercy.

Right now, the House of Mercy already has one of the structures. It was created by high school students in Andover and gifted to the shelter. It will be used at the Peace Village encampment on Industrial Street as a storage unit for supplies to maintain the grounds there.


Stephanie Robusto

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