A Seattle-based company that hires workers who have overcome addiction, incarceration, and homelessness has donated 10 tiny homes to a relief project in Oregon. The value of the donation totals US$68,000.
Sixty-three-year-old homeless Navy veteran Steven Woody, who is one of the first people to occupy a tiny home at the Medford campground, said that he feels "like a human being again."
"To be able to keep what you’ve got without worrying about somebody stealing it is a big deal," he said.
Rogue Retreat's development director, Matthew Vorderstrasse, told the outlet that elderly or medically vulnerable people will be prioritized as new tenants. The team erected several structures within just a few hours on Oct. 11 and made an immediate impact.
Pallet Shelter is owned by Brady King and his wife, Amy, who describe their venture as a "social-purpose company."
Almost 85 to 90 percent of Pallet's workforce has previously been incarcerated, struggled with addiction, or experienced homelessness, King said.
Describing the housing units as "fully loaded," Brady said that a basic structure costs US$4,900, the Mail Tribune reported. With wiring and a heater added, the cost rises to US$6,800 per unit.
Though comparatively smaller, Pallet's units are half as expensive as compared to the tiny homes already erected at Hope Village, another Oregon campground run by Rogue Retreat. They also have the benefit of being portable, and take around 40 minutes to erect.
"With four guys, we can typically erect 10 of these per day," King said. "If we really pushed it, we could do one every 30 minutes."
The fiberglass and aluminum structures have two fold-down benches inside that can be used as beds, plus shelving, electrical outlets, windows, and a lockable front door. An emergency opening at the back of each unit could serve as an alternative exit.
The Medford urban campground, which has been open since July, does not yet have electricity.
King knows how imperative it is for nonprofits to lend their support to relief projects such as the Medford campground.
Another use for Pallet Shelter's portable units has been identified amid the ongoing wildfires; the tiny homes are being erected as temporary housing for displaced families.
On Oct. 9, Rogue Retreat filmed the setting-up of several tiny shelter homes at the Medford campground. The following day, despite gathering rainclouds, the Pallet and Rogue teams soldiered on.
"There are over 50 people in the campground enjoying their new temporary home," they wrote.
Providing privacy, safety, and insulation from the encroaching cold, these tiny homes are already making a very big difference to their new tenants.