Man provides tiny houses to homeless
Man provides tiny houses to homeless Irene "Smokie" McGhee, a woman who had been sleeping on the streets in a South Los Angeles neighborhood, listens to music on the doorway of her newly built tiny home. Elvis Summers appears at left (AP photos)
Man provides tiny houses to homeless
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After Elvis Summers built a tiny house on wheels for a woman who had been sleeping on the streets, he launched a crowdfunding campaign on the internet. The idea was to get money to construct similar shelters for other homeless people in his neighborhood. He lives in South Los Angeles.

He had no grand ambitions. He just wanted to lend a helping hand. In Los Angeles, thousands of residents are without roofs over their heads.

"Honestly I thought I'd raise enough money to help a dozen people, call it a day. And then go back to stressing about my job," said the 38-year-old. He runs an online apparel store.

Summers never thought more than 5.6 million people would watch a YouTube video of him constructing the 8-foot-long house. He built it for "Smokie." She is a grandmother who's been homeless for more than a decade. He estimates he spent less than $500 on plywood, shingles, a window and a door. The video ends with Smokie doing a little jig. She hangs up a "Home Sweet Home" sign.

The GoFundMe campaign is called Tiny House, Huge Purpose. It has brought in nearly $60,000. That's in less than a month. And Summers' inbox is overflowing. He has received offers for help from carpenters, homeless advocates and retirees. And even children as young as 6.

Now Summers, who sports a blue mohawk and wraparound shades, suddenly considers himself a man with a mission. He has started a nonprofit. He also has reached out to Los Angeles officials. He wants to get the city involved in his plan to build more tiny homes for transients.

"People are calling it a movement," he said. "I'm humbled. But now I can't turn my back on it."

Builders said they would donate materials. Contractors offered to help in the design of the small wheeled structures. And chefs said they would to bring food to the construction sites.

Summers said he wants to hire homeless people to help with the construction. Smokie said she would be the first person to sign up.

"I'm ready to start building," she said. "Give people a good night's rest. Someplace warm."

It is unclear if the city would enforce rules for these homes. Smokie said police have told her she won't be bothered as long as she regularly moves the home. It is small enough to fit in a parking space. It could be moved about every three days.

The structure is so small that it wouldn't require permits if built on private property, said Luke Zamperini. He is the spokesman for the city Building and Safety department.

"We do not consider it a dwelling or a building as it does not meet the definition of either," Zamperini said.

Critical thinking challenge: How can a tiny house have a huge purpose?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/junior/man-provides-tiny-houses-homeless/

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COMMENTS (15)
  • olivia15-Bla
    5/21/2015 - 01:34 p.m.

    I truly think that this man is so thoughtful and kind, and any one who helped him make these people have a home!.He helped homeless people, and now they are safe, warm and aren't living on the road!
    I think that every night the homeless people, who now have a home, are very thankful that he would even try to make a difference in there lives!

  • florenciabenaventerubio
    5/21/2015 - 04:35 p.m.

    It's beautiful to see, that even exists people who want to help the rest of the people, without seeking anything in return, like in this case, a generous man who help homeless people, and gives them its support.

    A great job that requires commitment and cooperation of all of the people, even if It is not the responsibility of this man to do this act.

    "I'm ready to start building," she said. "Give people a good night's rest. Someplace warm."

    Summers never thought more than 5.6 million people would watch a YouTube video of him constructing the 8-foot-long house. He built it for "Smokie." She is a grandmother who's been homeless for more than a decade. He estimates he spent less than $500 on plywood, shingles, a window and a door. The video ends with Smokie doing a little jig. She hangs up a "Home Sweet Home" sign.

  • Jefferys-Lam
    6/02/2015 - 10:30 a.m.

    I think that is really nice of that guy. If I was him I would help all the people I can. I would have build a big building for hundreds of homeless people to go and sleep, and eat. Even though no one really does anything about homeless people I would.

  • sabreena2276
    6/09/2015 - 09:46 p.m.

    I think its great that this random guy in LA decided to make a home for a homeless lady even if it is so tiny. Then all of a sudden it becomes bigger and he does this for more homeless people, i wish i had money to do that. I would do it in a heartbeat. Many people on the streets made mistakes in the past or failed at what they wanted in there future, and sometimes they just need help. There are some people that stand on the streets just for money and attention, but the ones that you see everyday in a box are the ones that are hurting. Im glad this man did what he did.

  • laim-
    2/24/2017 - 09:36 a.m.

    I think building about 2-3 houses a day for the homeless is a great idea because it will help the environment and help citizens.

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