Helen Morgan

Paul Elkin's Mobile Homeless Shelter Is a Refuge Packed with Sustainable Features

by , 02/06/12

paul elkin, homeless shelter, portable refuge, sustainable abode design, efficient shelter, mobile home design, transportable shelter design

Designing a shelter to meet the diverse needs of the homeless population is a challenge, but Paul Elkin‘s fantastic concept makes due as both a mobile home and a store packed with goods to help support a livelihood. The inventor and bike-maker took up a challenge to construct a portable unit for the urban homeless population, and what he created was a secure and watertight structure for sleeping at night that could also be turned into an open space during the day to display and sell wares.


paul elkin, homeless shelter, portable refuge, sustainable abode design, efficient shelter, mobile home design, transportable shelter design

The low-impact 225-pound structure is a mobile design kitted out with a sophisticated tank system to collect rainwater. The design maximizes the small space available, and is fitted with fold-away furniture to make it seem more spacious than its compact form would lead you to believe. The portable refuge also boasts modern-conveniences such as a humble toilet, a kitchen, and what looks like a cozy convertible sleeping area.

Elkin hoped the design might encourage creativity and a sense of pride as “not all want to beg or go rummage around in trash cans all day for a living.” Take a look at Elkin’s video of his homeless shelter cart to find out more.

+ Paul Elkin

Images courtesy of Paul Elkins

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4 Comments

  1. cla67 July 5, 2013 at 11:34 am

    How do I buy one? Simply amazing! I wish I had seen this concept soner. My Uncle chose a life in the woods my mother owns. He wouldn’t make it any where else. He was a solitary guy who refused social norms and assistance. He died recently. This would heave been perfect. I would love to have this to go up in those woods for weekend stays. The homeless come nightly, I’d like to show this to them.

  2. TEM February 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    is this going to be sold? how much will it cost? or how will it get to people who need it?

  3. GroanDesign February 8, 2012 at 12:53 am

    The video appears to have been taken down by EMI goons – due to the soundtrack? Shame.

  4. anaglypher_08 February 6, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    one needs to understand the mindset of the people, its the socio-cultural environment that plays an important role here, the design is intended for the people who need social interaction, the shelter will provide a physical comfort but not the latter one. modern architecture is disturbing the basic geometries of social bonding. the design should incorporate spaces that can house 3-4 people, so they share their lives with each other, have someone to talk to. that interaction will shelter both our physical and social needs.

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