Company That Hires Ex-Addicts Gifts $68,000 Worth Tiny Homes to Shelter Homeless

October 14, 2020 Updated: October 14, 2020

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.

Pallet delivered the 10 homes to an urban campground in Medford, Jackson County, run by local nonprofit Rogue Retreat; the 64-square-foot units will replace 10 tents, reported Mail Tribune.

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.

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(Illustration – RudenkoStudio/Shutterstock)

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.

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A pop-up homeless village at a city intersection in Portland, Ore. (Victoria Ditkovsky/Shutterstock)

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.

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(Illustration – Alexander Oganezov/Shutterstock)

King knows how imperative it is for nonprofits to lend their support to relief projects such as the Medford campground.

“We found that people aren’t able to scale that because they are dependent on volunteer labor and supplies,” he told KOBI 5. “So if we’re gonna really solve, attempt to solve homelessness we need to scale this.”

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.

“Our staff has been preparing for this by spreading wood chips all over the camp to cover potential mud,” Rogue Retreat posted on Facebook. “We have canopies over all tents. And with the addition of the 10 Pallet structures we are able to help our most elderly and medically challenged to have a safe, dry place.

“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.

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