More people are experiencing homelessness in Toronto, Canada, than ever before.
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COVID-19 has led to job loss and financial insecurity for many citizens. After witnessing the tents and tarps of homeless camps around his city firsthand, carpenter Khaleel Seivwright set out to do something about it.
Thinking ahead to the cold winter months, Khaleel gathered materials from various jobs he’d completed and designed his first tiny home.
The large rectangular box was lined with fiberglass insulation and can stay warm using only body heat in temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. It was also on caster wheels, so it was fully mobile.
From there, he just kept going!
Each tiny home costs Khaleel $1,000 and takes about eight hours of labor to make. He started off paying out of his own pocket, but once he delivered his first unit, he made a GoFundMe so others could help out.
Once they’re finished, he delivers the shelters to anyone experiencing homelessness completely free of charge.
“It just seemed like something I could do that would be useful because there’s so many people staying in tents,” Khaleel said. “I’ve never seen so many people staying outside in parks, and this is something I could do to make sure people staying outside in the winter could survive.”
The city of Toronto would prefer to increase shelter capacity instead of using mobile shelters, citing hazards like fires as the deterrent. But Khaleel plans to keep making the units out of concern for his fellow citizens.
“This isn’t a permanent solution,” he said. “This is just making sure people don’t die in the cold this winter.”
With shelters already full in many areas, the city will add 560 additional beds this winter. Still, many people on the streets are so concerned about catching COVID-19 that they would prefer to stay outside, exposing themselves to dangerously cold weather conditions.
Khaleel sees his work as a way to put a Band-Aid on a life-or-death problem. “This is what I know how to do, this is what seems to be viable, so I’m going to continue to do this,” he said.
We applaud his efforts! Now that word of his mobile shelter project has gotten out, donations to his online fundraiser have skyrocketed. We hope these funds help him provide a safe place to sleep for as many people as possible!
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