Students aim to build village of tiny homes for Seattle's homeless (Video)

Sawhorse Revolution
© Sawhorse Revolution

The causes of homelessness are complex and varied, but one thing is for sure: like any human being, homeless individuals need shelter, a place to call home. In this crowd-funding campaign that pairs up high school student volunteers with professionals in the building industry, Seattle-based non-profit Sawhorse Revolution is hoping to finance the gradual construction of a "moveable eco-village" for some of the city's homeless.

The proposed shelters will be designed and implemented by local high school students, under the supervision of architects, engineers and builders. Founded by Adam Nishimura as an educational program that mentors teens in real world skills and community service, Sawhorse Revolution's goal is to build portable, sustainable shelters for the Nickelsville Homeless Community, a formal, self-governed encampment that has been around since 2008 (there are a handful of formal encampments around Seattle). You can listen to program director Sarah Smith explain in this Let's Build a Tiny House podcast what the project is all about:

The project is dubbed "Impossible City," and as Sawhorse Revolution explains on their Indiegogo page, these encampments are needed as secure, sober living spaces for vulnerable people:

Hosting anywhere from 40 – 100 people at a time, these encampments are vital to helping the homeless get back on their feet. Encampments’ structural needs are many, since the tent cities move every 3-12 months and are typically off-grid with extremely limited amenities.

© Sawhorse Revolution
© Sawhorse Revolution

So far, Sawhorse has already built a couple of portable, small shelters out of recycled materials. Their aim is to create six more personal shelters out of tensile or folding materials, using off-grid principles and concepts inspired by disaster relief housing. Another goal is to add a solar-powered charging station, a community cooking space and composting latrines.

© Sawhorse Revolution
© Sawhorse Revolution
© Sawhorse Revolution

Approaching the issue of homelessness from a sustainable design perspective, Impossible City is a great project that not only gives teens a profound educational opportunity, but also tackles the lack of affordable housing in a hands-on way. Find out how you can support it on Indiegogo, and check out what else Sawhorse Revolution has in store.

Tags: Architecture | Less Is More | Living With Less | Seattle | Small Spaces

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