No takers for 64 foot houses for homeless
Published Saturday, November 15, 2008 6:54PM PST
It was designed as a very small solution to the very big problem of homelessness in Metro Vancouver, but it may never see the light of day.
"The idea was to come up with a 64 square-foot living space for homeless citizens that would have a price point of $1,500," says Emily Carr University's Christian Blyt.
The homes were built for a springtime industrial design course. Students in the 15-week course interviewed homeless people and directors of shelters and support agencies to design structures made of pine beetle wood and 30 per cent recycled building material.
The result is cheap, basic shelters capable of giving homeless people a place to live. The concept would be to cluster 10 or 12 of the little houses around a communal kitchen and washroom. Improvements could be made for about what the government is paying to renovate a single suite in one of their Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) hotels scattered around the city.
However, it now seems unlikely any homeless person will ever live in one of these shelters.
Blyt says although he's had talks with the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster, there are no serious discussions to put the shelters in place in any Lower Mainland municipality.
Visitors to the shelters, which are displayed near Emily Carr on Granville Island, gave the little houses rave reviews.
"For a good part of the world this is a palace," says Blyt. "It's only in our North American or western world we would say these are small."
Most likely, the structures will wind up as garden sheds or kids playhouses.
"I think that's kind of a waste," one woman tells CTV News. "These student obviously put a lot of effort into these."
"This is a place for someone to call home," another woman says. "This is so needed."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's David Kincaid