Gallery: Tiny Abod Shelters Provide Humane Housing for Slum Dwellers in...

Each shelter is affordable and highly customizable
Each shelter is affordable and highly customizable

Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Doug amassed a team of designers to help him with his latest philanthropy project – lightweight shelters that can be easily shipped and erected anywhere in the world. Highly affordable and flexible in design, each shelter can be can be customized to fit each owner’s particular needs. Everything from kitchen and toilet units to end walls, loft expansions and special doors can be added to the core structure.

Mostly constructed out of corrugated metal, a translucent plastic panel can be used to incorporate natural lighting – a boon for slums that typically lack decent access to national electricity grids. Gutters incorporated into the shelters ensure that rainwater is directed away from the tiny homes to improve sanitation and a number of the houses can be linked together to create a small community. A fabulous humanitarian intervention, the first Abod community was constructed just outside of Johannesburg as a test pilot.

+ Abod Shelters

Via Tiny House Swoon


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  1. Leigh Oxley Du Preez August 6, 2015 at 2:52 am

    How much do these houses cost?

  2. pratikz March 25, 2015 at 2:52 am

    How do a slum dweller replace any material if damaged or what are the scope of future expansion? I would suggest that there is no global solution for slum dwellers. Every slum needs to address separately with their local availability of materials and their cultures rather than providing a global model which doesn’t fit to their lifestyle and needs.

  3. Bai Yang January 1, 2015 at 4:05 am

    where is the biogas toilet and biogas cooking stove? Where is the wind-cacher? where is the rain water collection mechanism? where is the solar panel for electricity – with this much sun as in the picture, the solar power can charge a China-made electric bike.

  4. L Lapierre May 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    To expensive… our goal is to build free houses with organic food gardens for all.

    Also, container houses are much cheaper… and bigger.

  5. Bobbyh February 26, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Wow this is great, I so great admire those humanitarians who could work on this!!!!

  6. Dawn Thorpe February 26, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Well Done, Doug!

  7. aredsand February 25, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Can insulation be added? What is the square footage?

  8. Kathy Scaman February 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Looks great! How much do they cost the TINY houses are$10,000 in materials alone.

  9. August 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Sorry – I am just now coming across this article and comments. The Abod comes as a structure with the main purpose of providing a home (or replace shanties) to someone in a 3rd world country. These are typically built in areas where there is no running water or electricity available. Our most recent build was in Mokopane, South Africa. Another mission group came in after us and built a roof connecting all 5 homes (from the middle) and brought in a cook stove for them to use. They do come with flooring and a solar package. Go to for more information or email Thanks!

  10. plantagenet13 March 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    What a wonderful idea! I am interested in building 2-3 such shelters linked together at a montane location in St James Parish, ca 12 miles from the well known Resort city of Montego Bay.My Institute lacks funds to create these shelters but I wonder if you would be interested in donating them to showcase this work in Jamaica where there is a need for solutions to housing problems in the major cities. A lso they could be of interest as cabins for tourists seeking low-cost/economic vacations.

  11. tabakoff March 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Fascinating. How much does one of these cost, and do they need to
    be hooked up to a clean water supply? How about cooking – vented? Gas? Or are cooking a and toilet components not part of the dwelling?

    Sheila Tabakoff

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