She Slept on the Pavement for the Past Decade; Thanks to This Tiny Home, She Won’t Have to Anymore
Posted by GreaterGoodness
One man’s compassionate act to provide shelter for a homeless woman inspired a crowdfunding campaign aimed at duplicating the effort for other homeless people. “My Tiny House Project L.A.” on GoFundMe seeks $50,000 to build individual tiny houses for homeless people throughout Los Angeles.
When Elvis Summers got to know Irene McGhee, a 60-year-old woman known as “Smokie” to her friends, he realized she was homeless due to a series of unlucky circumstances, including losing her husband in 2004 and being unable to afford payments on the house they shared before his death. The 37-year-old Los Angeles man, who met Smokie while asking for recyclables in the neighborhood she frequented, learned she slept on the ground and decided he would do something to change her life for the better.
He sunk $500 into lumber and convinced a local building supply company to donate roof shingles and siding. In five days, Summers built a three-and-a-half-by-eight-foot house on wheels, working outside his apartment. He added a window and outfitted the structure with wheels so Smokie could move it every three days in keeping with the law. The home has a lock that can only be unlocked with Smokie’s key, making it a secure place to sleep and to store any money she is able to panhandle. The police, he said, supported the project, promising to leave Smokie alone if she complied with the 72-hour moving regulation.
After sleeping on the pavement for more than a decade, Smokie told Inside Edition that her first night in the small home found her feeling relaxed and safe for the first time in years. Other homeless people in the area quickly noticed Smokie’s good fortune and asked Summers if he would build similar shelters for them. To help him do just that, Summers launched the GoFundMe campaign. He is also working with the City of Los Angeles to find public property where such houses can be parked.