LONG BEACH, Wash.—
A Northwest group is building portable houses by hand and giving them away for free.
Because Pvgz Addams was homeless as a teenager for years, he understands the experience of the homeless in the Northwest weather and desires to help.
“It’s not really hard to find someone who needs these things,” Addams said.
The 32-year-old started building the houses last fall. After he builds the 3-feet by 6 ½-feet wooden shelter, volunteers can finish the details in a week. He wants to use lighter wood but the cost jumps from $8 to $23 a sheet.
Addams was inspired after hearing about someone in California who initiated a similar project. The project needed to be tweaked to work for the people in his area.
“I really wanted to do something like that but I couldn’t figure out a plausible way to fund the project,” he said.
His friend suggested a fundraising webpage and “that’s what we did,” Addams said. Six days later, friends had obtained $500.
“We went to the hardware store and bought some material,” he said. “We took an old bed frame and a couple of my kid’s bikes he had outgrown and my friend Martin and I got to work.”
News agencies began contacting Addams immediately and “I realized we were onto something big that could change the lives of millions of people who have no place to live,” he said.
Although Addams and the team of volunteers have no strict process in determining who gets a shelter, they are confident the recipients who have received one so far were the right matches.
“Who are we to judge who deserves a dry, warm place to sleep?” Addams said.
The long term goal of the organization is to expand to as many cities as they can, helping as many people as they can.
“The demand is endless,” Addams said. “Lives could be saved by the simple act of giving somebody a place to stay out of the weather.”
It takes $650 to build one shelter plus another $150 for the care package, which includes a portable toilet, camp shower, hygiene products, a smoke detector, a carbon monoxide alarm, a tarp and a number of other practical gifts.
The team has already given four of the shelters away.
“They’ve been astounded with them, total disbelief to see how nice it is to see in it,” volunteer and construction worker Mike Rodda said. “I mean, that in itself is a gift to us.”
The group currently plans to build seven more, but that doesn’t meet the small town’s goal. There are dozens of homeless people in Long Beach.
Addams’ big idea is a memorial to his mother, who lived on the streets with him but died too soon to see Huts for Hope begin. “She was a sweet woman,” he said. “She didn’t deserve the life she was given.”
“We have big plans,” Addams said. “It’s going to take some time but we have no plans on giving up.”
You can find more information about how to donate to the project here.