Organization proposes building micro-shelters to house the homeless

Homeless advocates broke ground on what they hope becomes the first step in a new development to get people off the streets.

Posted: Jan 21, 2020 7:39 PM

REDDING, Calif.- Homeless advocates broke ground on what they hope becomes the first step in a new development to get people off the streets.

The sixty square foot micro-shelter assembled Tues. morning in Redding by volunteers are called Conestoga huts. Organizers say this could be a viable option to house the homeless. The micro-shelters or "tiny" huts would be completely insulated and equipped with a bed frame, a mattress, and a smoke detector.

The woman pushing to make the huts a possible option and hoping to introduce them to the Redding community  says the huts are affordable and would provide stability to those without a home. 

Laural Park, the woman spearheading this project, envisions building a village of individual tiny huts. Each village would have a common area that would provide other basic necessities. 

"This would work for many people," says Park. "Sometimes people are homeless because they lost their job, they had a medical problem, they ended up losing their house or apartment. Often those are the people we see that are homeless, so this would be an option."

Over thirty student volunteers from the California Heritage YouthBuild Academy in Redding came together to build the protoype for one of the huts. 

"It takes two to three hours to construct with a small crew," says Lane Carlson, who oversaw the hut's construction."If you are to build the wall that came in the kit, you're looking at a two day process."

The hut that was assembled Tues. morning will be on display at the center.

"This is really the first one in Redding and there may be huts around the state, I don’t know. This is the first one and it’s a model of what we can do," says Park. "People are welcome to come and take a look and see what we’re talking about and see if it’s an option they want to consider."

Park says she is currently talking to city and county leaders to try and see if this idea can become a possibility. She's hopeful that city officials and the community will be open to this idea.

One of the main challenges she says she faces is funding and finding a site to build the huts on.

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