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Pop up shelters for the homeless

Image credit: The cool ice box company

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Oct 15, 2021
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I propose using areas that are vacant during the evening (thinking of parking lots in particular) to provide proper, free, shelter for the homeless.
Having structures that are easily assembled would already help, but pieces might easily be stolen. I'm imagining having permanent, collapsible structures incorporated into the design of the parking areas. This could be in the form of walls that are stored underground and can be lifted and locked into place in the evening. One wall might have a foldaway section that could act as a bed, and another wall might have an added piece that could be fixed to act as a roof.
Communal bathroom facilities could be set up without taking up too much space or the owner of said parking area could simply ask the municipality or government to erect public restrooms nearby, in support of the idea.
While there might be some prejudice issues with assuming that the occupants might leave a mess, or loiter around during the day, these would be fair concerns for a business owner attempting to do a good deed without negatively affecting his/her business. I think this could easily be solved by involving the homeless and be a good opportunity for job creation as well. A registry could be kept of frequent occupants, and if they leave a mess or cause any trouble for the business, they could be banned from using the facilities. Doing this would also allow you to set up lockers for frequent occupants to store some of their possessions in, they would be able to get a key to their personal locker after being registered on the system. Some could even be hired in supervisory and security roles, giving them an opportunity to earn an income while also maintaining the area. I believe that the majority would value the comforts afforded to them by the opportunity enough to make sure that no troublemakers spoil it for the rest.
There might even be a security benefit for companies who do this, as there would always be people around, removing the opportunity for criminal activities while the place is abandoned.
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Creative contributions

Pop down shelters that retract into the ceiling

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Oct 15, 2021
This would be feasible for parking garages or places that have a roof above the parking slots.
Each parking lot would have a switch that becomes active after a specific time in the evening when everyone has left. Upon clicking the switch, thick tent-like linen would unroll from the ceiling, forming the walls of the temporary "house". A bed and a small table would lower from the ceiling and stop at a comfortable height above the ground.
Sheltered from the elements a person could comfortably spend the night there.
All the materials would probably have to be plastic so that they keep the warmth in and are easy to wipe down with disinfectant. The disinfectant sprayer would be provided and regularly refilled for free.
In the morning before specific time, a wakeup notification would keep reminding the person that they have to leave because the garage will soon open for visitors.
When retracted into the ceiling the entire thing would look like a thin box. It would not lower unless the entire parking lot was clear.
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Permanent structures

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Oct 15, 2021
Another way to approach this would be to build permanent structures in outdoor parking areas. This way, businesses could offer their customers' vehicles shelter from the elements during the day, and do the same for the homeless community during the evening.
The problem with this approach is that it would be a less economic use of space. Parking space is already a major problem in many cities, and I don't think many people would be willing to reduce the number of cars that can fit on a lot in order to build permanent structures for each parking space.
If this approach is used though, you would be able to make the living area much nicer for the occupants at night.
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General comments

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Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
Why not simply build the shelters in permanently vacant areas of the city - anywhere where there's abandoned/ unoccupied space? Is this because the owners of paid parking lots could finance this and later would be able to benefit from it somehow? Not all parking lots are empty at night and some might even be quite full, it depends.
Even in rather empty parking lots there are usually a few cars here and there, you can't predict which spaces the drivers will choose to take. Such parking lots (or rather a certain part of the lot) with pop-up shelters then would have to be intentionally closed from a certain hour for drivers not to park there.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw2 months ago
Povilas S Building permanent shelters in vacant areas of the city would solve the housing problem completely. The problem with this is financing (I'm not going to elaborate on my opinions on government spending). The idea of using privately-owned parking lots for semi-permanent structures is that it would be multifunctional. i.e The owners would (should) not lose out by doing this.
And yes, I imagine that it would only be part of the parking lot as there would still need to be parking space available.
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