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Man Builds Tiny House for Homeless Mother Sleeping in Dirt

This is an inspiring story about an ordinary man who builds a tiny house for a homeless mother, Irene McGee, who’d been sleeping outside on the dirt.

It’s a micro house built with love for someone who was obviously in desperate need of a miracle. And this man was that miracle worker.

He decided he would build the micro house right on the street on a parking lot for her. In the video below you can enjoy and see how he built it. You can actually learn something about building from watching too! As to where and for how long they were able to keep it, I don’t know.

But the point of the video (below) is to inspire you to take action and do something like this too if you feel called to. The man, Elvis Summers, spent $500 to build it. He put wheels on it so they can move it every 72 hours to comply with local police. Either way please enjoy and if you like it re-share with your friends below. Thank you!

Man Builds Tiny House for Homeless Mother Sleeping in Dirt

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Video: Man Builds $500 Micro Home for Homeless Woman

KCAL Video Story on this Woman and her new Micro Home

This Story on ABC (Learn More)

Resources

  1. ABC Story
  2. Descret News National
  3. Tiny House Huge Purpose GoFundMe Campaign

You can share this inspiring tiny house story with your friends and family for free using the e-mail and social media re-share buttons below. Thanks!

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Our big thanks to Steve Krivda and Nolan Scheid for tipping us on this amazing story! Thanks guys!

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 55 comments… add one }
  • Frank May 5, 2015, 9:11 am

    I know that most people on this page will probably think bad of the message that I am typing here. but I do not like this build, not even for a homeless individual. It’s just a small movable box with poor ventilation That box must get excessively hot in that location. I think that a more noble idea is to provide people like smokey with a hardworking social worker who could get her into public housing with her own bathroom, kitchen, storage, and electricity. All the true basic necessities that one needs to live in dignity, and not in a poorly designed structure that could potentially cause her death if the weathe becomes unbearably hot and she dehydrates. Also rodents can enter into that structure while she sleeps. Those are my main concerns. His building it, was a commendable labor of love. But this is where I see building code enforcements necessary. Hope my comment and honesty does not offend.

    • Lisa E. May 5, 2015, 1:23 pm

      (1) This woman has been on the streets for ten years. Where has Social Services been in all that time? (Man, the system is broken. Wake up!)
      (2) Mr. Summers put in a double-hung window turned sideways so she can slide it open or closed as much as she wants, and he also installed an awning to go over the window against rain and as a heat/sun shield for her.
      (3) As for the box getting hot: (a) She can move it under trees or into an alley or other shade, and (b) she said she is now going to go look for a job which means she probably won’t be in her box during the day. And if it really does get that warm, she can always open the window and the door and get a cross breeze.
      (4) If she needs water, I’m pretty sure that Mr. Summers will be glad to accommodate her.
      (5) Fears of predatory rodents is unfounded. If there are that many rodents roaming around, the city will be brought in to take care of it. Also, judging from the BIG houses in the background of the video, she’s living in a fairly upscale neighborhood that I’m sure take care of any rodent problems.
      (6) Building code enforcement is for the rich. They did nothing for this woman. Better that she has a roof over her head than her tiny house on wheels be taken from her.
      (7) I hope this town has the compassion to allocate some land so that more people in this lady’s situation can have a place to call home; especially in winter!
      (8) Kudos to Mr. Summers for being a kind and caring heart. We need more men like you, Mr. Summers!!!

      • M May 5, 2015, 5:49 pm

        I have always wondered what building codes were in place for the Native American tribes that lived here before white man decided how we all should live. I wonder if those boundary lines exist and can be seen from space? Don’t think so. As this woman has been living outside for ten years, with rats, bugs, total weather exposure, then this is nothing but a huge step up. Frank, you are thinking of her needs and that is good. But you need to realize that to her this box is probably a palace compared to living directly in alleys and backwoods. And much better than either of those when winter comes. But what I see you concerned about is her finding a way to elevate herself to even better living conditions with basic amenities such as a real toilet. And that is where the not very effective Social Services should come into play. But for now, as a temporary gap filler, this little box is better than a gutter and has created in her a desire to get a job. I think it is the ideal of home ownership – albeit a box – that gave her the confidence to think of seeking a job. Gave her some pride in herself that she may have been missing for ten years. So, yes, kudos to Mr. Summers for creating the spark. And kudos to Frank for outlining the next steps needed to elevate her even further. As for codes and regs, they need to adjust to our societies needs and take what may be considered unfavorable pieces of land and possibly turn them into small ‘noble’ communities for ‘box people’ who are trying to move up the ladder while waiting for SS to help them get into public housing and other services which can take time. So, yes, Lisa, good idea on that. But it will probably take a private sector person to get the ball rolling in that regard.

      • M May 5, 2015, 5:52 pm

        Forgot to add …. Elvis is outside the house!

      • Tammy May 12, 2015, 2:10 am

        I agree that most of Franks concerns are unfounded and also think what this man did for this lady was a truly wonderful and loving act, however, once all the media attention dies down the city will show up, tare it down and haul it off to the dump and if she’s lucky they won’t show up with the SS aka cops to beat her half to death. Cities will destroy whole tent villages, destroy tents with mothers and children sleeping in them, cut up sleeping bags with disabled vets in them and haul off kids basketball goals because they are sitting on the edge of the curb. The politicians and bureaucrats would rather see her dead in the dirt if they can’t squeeze any money outa her and as sad and heartless as the truth is that’s the world we now live in.

    • Denise May 6, 2015, 12:17 am

      Methinks sleeping in this box is probably better for this woman than sleeping on the dirt.

      • Jaime May 6, 2015, 2:23 am

        No Ventilation? Thats a joke right? bet it has 20 times more ventilation ratio than what any of us live in

    • Jill Heller May 6, 2015, 12:26 pm

      Well, rodents can come to her while sleeping on the dirt outside as well! Nice job and effort for the build for this woman!! KUDOs!! If only these rich contractors across America would shell out some of their excess dollars think of some really nice structures that could be built adequately for the homeless!! Plus funding for all people to chip in and help!!

  • Melody May 5, 2015, 9:50 am

    Although I do agree with Franks point. I mean I think his argument is valid. I also find myself torn. Mainly because I would be more shocked to find out that social workers haven’t been already addressed. People like this usually have many run-ins with police, as mentioned in the article with moving her structure to avoid ticketing, etc., which means referrals to social services. It more likely she has rejected social services, and this is the only help she will accept. Help that doesn’t take her freedom or force other things upon her. Again I do agree with Frank, I just can’t fault this guy and alternatives that maybe the homeless population would accept.

    • Heather May 5, 2015, 10:59 am

      In this mixed up world it’s always nice to see people take action to do something kind for another being(animal or human). It sounds like this man knew of only one way that HE could help her and therefore he took action. Yes this may not be the best solution for her but it helps her out for now. However, Take a look at the article “A Hope for the Homeless” on JW.ORG. This is the only permanent solution we’ll get for the homeless.

      • andy May 5, 2015, 11:14 pm

        Building codes… The reason the streets are filled with homeless and the cities are full of boarded up empty builings. I hope he paid $500 for a permit, $1000 for inspection to make sure it meets code, and oh, its against the law to live in a home without running water for $50/ month and electric for $50/ month and then taxes, police cconstantly harassing / arresting her for trespassing or vagrancy, etc. Sigh

  • Stacy May 5, 2015, 10:10 am

    I don’t think your comments offend but I think you are naïve as it takes years on a waiting list and the places that are offered are usually group homes or shelters that do not offer safety. The fear of violence is real and hence why many do not go to shelters as their belongings are stolen and they come to harm. As far as the heat I believe it looks like there is a vent on top and also the window. The rats are no more a threat than what she had all ready sleeping in the open and in fact the shelter gives her some protection. Why it is not the best solution it really is a step in the right direction and he just improved her life by quite a bit. I agree that building codes are needed but they also need to have some common sense and not giving shelter because it doesn’t include a bathroom is really ludacris in my opinion.

  • Sheri May 5, 2015, 10:31 am

    Coming from a big city with homeless people all over, trying to help them live a “normal”life is not going to work for some. Some people prefer to remain homeless. I had a sister that could come home any time she wanted, mom always accepted her back anytime she came home. She lived on the streets in mid town and preferred it. It was exciting to her. Social workers don’t always fix everyone. I bet if my sister had a place for herself like this she would have been happy.

  • Lilly May 5, 2015, 10:35 am

    I disagree totally with Frank. I woman needs a home to call her own, even if it doesn’t meet Franks snobbish standards. He definitely couldn’t have made it 100 years ago, no a/c, poor ventilation, too hot, too cold, rodents, no social workers!!!! No, he’s definitely a metro sexual man. The lady and Elvis, now that’s the stock I would have like in my lineage.

    • M May 5, 2015, 6:10 pm

      I don’t see Frank’s comments as ‘snobbish’ or ‘metro sexual’ but as trying to address the dignity issue. Let’s not cast stones … He did make some good points and stated in the beginning that he felt his comments would be taken out of context. He was giving his honest appraisal of a situation and as this is a public forum he has the right to do so, just as you have the right to try to tear apart his comment. We all see things from different perspectives. For all you know, Frank was a serviceman who fought for the very freedom of speech/blog commenting that we are all enjoying here. So let’s be kind and courteous and tolerant of differing perspectives. God knows there’s already enough dissension in the world without adding more to the pile. What many tend to forget is that many of the aristocrats of the world were those who because of their privileged status had the time and the means to study and often come up with solutions to the problems our world has faced in history. Not all were tyrants and playboys, those are just the ones we hear about. Many have given of their riches not only to the poor but to the arts, the sciences, medicine and other aspects of life that we take for granted. One I can think of off the top of my head, ” Ben Franklin wrote that he “always set a
      greater value on the character of a doer of good, than on any other kind of reputation.” Franklin’s acts of charity, large and small, were defined by reason, creativity, generosity, and enduring results.

    • Cahow May 6, 2015, 5:21 pm

      Shame-Shame, Lilly. Cyber-bullying is NOT cool or an example of what a considerate person does to another person. Frank’s points were valid.

      You owe him an apology.

      • Frank May 6, 2015, 9:31 pm

        No need to apologize…I don’t consider her remark cyber bullying….she just has a different point of view and stated it incorrectly….it happens sometimes when emotions run high….anyway there’s nothing wrong with a man takes good care of his appearance and has great hygiene practices….if that is what she thinks a metro sexual man is all about….there is nothing wrong with that….that’s not offensive in any means of the word

  • Greg Burns May 5, 2015, 10:44 am

    While I see everyone’s “trepidations” about the “safety” of this “tiny house”, being in a similar situation to this homeless gal, I also see it as a “blessing”! Here in Connecticut, allegedly in the “richest county in the United States”, there are countless homeless men, women, children, and Veterans, who cannot find shelter indoors. Formerly, in order to enter a “shelter”, you needed to call each and every one daily until a “bed opened up”, which often took months Now “the rules have changed”: you must call “2-1-1 Info-Line” and do a lengthy phone interview/intake in order to be put on a “general list” of ALL local shelters. When a “bed opens”, in no matter which city or town, no matter how far away, or how unsafe it has been deemed, you MUST TAKE IT “or else” you forego getting ANY BED! Last February, when there was literally NO indoor places to stay, I wound up in an abandoned house, which, turned out to be a “crack house”! This was NOT GOOD! But it was freezing cold, and I was tired (and extremely scared!). But for one solid week I had to endure it, fearing being mugged or murdered or physically molested or burned to death by their flaming pipes! As the saying goes: “What doesn’t KILL you makes you STRONGER!” Um, perhaps. But I NEVER want to go through something like THAT EVER AGAIN! So, yes, maybe that little house appears no bigger than a “dog house” or shed to store your garbage cans, but it IS now HER “HOME”! God bless everyone involved, and yes, hopefully a social worker WILL eventually arrive to assist her in her needs, but even THEY are entirely overwhelmed and overworked trying to keep up with SO MANY HOMELESS FOLKS! Please pray for us… :-/ Greg

    • M May 5, 2015, 6:56 pm

      I will Greg. Thanks for sharing your very applicable perspective and helping us to see what it is like on that side. I’ve not been actually homeless, but close and have had to at one time or another live without electricity or other amenities due to financial strain. It is a humbling experience. Yet I am grateful for it as it has helped me view things from the not so privileged side and see this TH movement as a possible way to put ideas out there, whether applicable or not, but as help many who might not otherwise be able to have a home.

    • dea May 28, 2015, 12:38 pm

      Are there so many of us not just a stones throw from homelessness ourselves?..I mean the states’ version of homelessness anyway, think about all the imposition of what’s proper what’s acceptable, how many children have been ripped from families because they all crammed in a room of a shared home to make ends meet when the bottom fell out because they simply did not meet the space per person ratio…There has been countless The policy factions always win simply because we the people don’t exercise or enact our inalienable rights..there is a right way, there’s a wrong way. Our great (unadulterated) Constitution was written to stand the test of time, all time and for all people, our current lacking to gather rightfully and peacefully in an assembly to deter oppression for instance is a common failure on movement planning, conviction, and other rights infractions. My point is that homelessness may be perceived as bad etc, you can’t force people to change, because it is also their free will to live as they choose, if they like the challenge of living out of a “box” etc… Forcing people to share their things which they earned with others is a form of governace, you all might recall as COMMUNISM…and that’s bad… Well, everything has it’s good points I’m sure, but I tend to function best when I do things out of goodness and choosing not being forced..I’ll step off the soap box now, hoping to raise a point and think a few things over that it may be better just saving one person at a time or one smile a minute…

  • J Bailey May 5, 2015, 10:45 am

    There is a ‘go fund me’ page set up to raise funds to build more of these, you can find it under the search ‘Tiny House Huge Purpose’. Although this house may have it’s shortcomings, so does homelessness.

  • Roger LaPointe May 5, 2015, 10:50 am

    While I do commend the though and love for a fellow human being in need. I do agree that while this is a solution to getting her off the ground to sleep, it does open a whole new can of worms. This very idea was put into practice in Tucson, AZ. A man built a whole fleet of these same type structures and provided them free of charge and delivered them to help get some homeless off the ground. To make a long story short the solution brought a heated discussion with city hall that resulted in the man taking the structures back off city property. To be clear it was not so much the getting the people off the ground, it was the problems that come with many of the homeless. The problems that bring with them such as . . . drugs, thefts, violence, etc. It is my belief there was alternative help made available.

    • Lisa E. May 5, 2015, 1:40 pm

      Poverty is the direct result of bad government. We no longer have a democratic republic; we now have a fascist military police state that is madly engaged in creating a Slave Economy. The TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) that is now progressing through Congress, coupled with the IMF (International Monetary Fund), a private consortium, that is going to be floating their own money in the world starting 10.20.15, which will give corporations the power to control the world (as they will own the money and will get to write the rules and terms of usage of ‘their’ money in the world) will be able to pull all of the money out of a country and basically put that country on its knees if it doesn’t comply with their demands for profits. How many people who didn’t want this homeless community had jobs and voted for and with the corporations?

  • Speed May 5, 2015, 10:52 am

    I think this man has a big heart and is true to himself. He done a kind thing for someone that does not have as much as he has and that my friends is how we all should be.

  • Janie Johnston May 5, 2015, 11:02 am

    Now that it takes over $500 just to get power turned on, just how long will our tax dollars last if all is in “proper housing” that they don’t want. I have often wondered how I might provide a small house for one person on property but I think the neighbors wouldn’t like it. I know some who works through a church benevolence fund but its hard to find a place and the get utilities turned on. I admire someone trying to help and seems he had checked with codes!

  • Linda May 5, 2015, 11:05 am

    I must commend all of you for your comments. But the bottom line is…Smokey has a “home”, Elvis has a heart of gold, and the homeless are still among us and still need our help. I work in the human services field and unfortunately some people are “neglected” by the system for a variety of reasons and many just can’t get into a home because there is a large lack of affordable housing in the United States. Many of the homeless have jobs but just can’t afford to pay outlandish rent. The tiny house movement is an example of how many people can be helped. My husband and I are currently looking into building a tiny house, getting sponsors and traveling the US to spread the word that there is a way to help the homeless by building tiny houses and building communities. So Elvis, thank you for your kindness and would love to someday have the chance to thank you in person. For the rest who are outspoken, may you never have to walk in a homeless person’s shoes…

  • Timothy Harris May 5, 2015, 11:42 am

    Commendable effort, and kindness of heart here. But it’s a bigger picture than this that requires addressing. and there is no easy solution. At least in this system of things. I agree she needs help from public services. I hope life can be kinder to her in the future.

  • xenia May 5, 2015, 11:45 am

    I think this a great project if only more people would do this, the fact that it has wheels and can be moved is great I hope it can hook on to a car. To answer some of other peoples concerns public low income housing is over a 2-5 year wait for an apartment and many shelters are overflowing with not enough beds. As well as bugs. I think what this women could use would be a membership to the YMCA for showers and a support system to help her back up again. I have been homeless and its is hard.

  • Greg Burns May 5, 2015, 11:50 am

    Um, WOW! So (some) people really DO BEIEVE that ALL OF SOCIETY’S ILLS are brought on BY HOMELESS PEOPLE?! NOT TRUE! As a matter of fact, most of the “homeless” people I’ve encountered are/were honest, sincerest, kind, generous (i.e. they’d give up their last dime to somebody else who may have needed it more!), hard-working, gentle, humble, industrious, and about a dozen other “GREAT THINGS”! And yey, most towns & cities (especially the more, um, “affluent” ones!) plop their “homeless shelters” RIGHT NEXT TO THEIR POLICE DEPARTMENTS! Yes, they must ALL be “perverts”, “pedophiles”, “purse thieves”, “pick-pockets”, “drug dealers”, “prostitutes” and the “like”! Folks checking into “homeless shelters” are usually screened for any kinds of violence or mental illness, and are “breathalysed” upon entering daily, and “random drug tested”. ANY SIGNS of “use” is an immediate reason for “dismissal”! So PLEASE show a little bit of COMPASSION (i.e. it’s FREE and CAN’T BE STOLEN!) when discussing folks who may not be as well off as you currently are. Most people are ONLY “one paycheck away from being bankrupt…” All it takes is something to go wrong with your car, your furnace or your child suddenly need braces on their teeth, and VIOLA! NO MORE CA$H! Someday go to a “soup kitchen” and volunteer to feed the poor and hungry, who have already lost all hope! You WILL SUDDENLY LEARN what life is TRULY like… :-/

    • AL May 5, 2015, 12:25 pm

      Health, Wealth, Peace, Joy & Happiness to you, Greg. I wish the best to you & to all people. 🙂

  • AL May 5, 2015, 12:19 pm

    I believe this is a blessing. I was very moved that this kind man took action to help this woman. I agree that she is probably very happy to have a home. Different people have different needs. If this works for her, all the more power to her. I understand the original idea behind codes, but the reality now is different. A lot of people can live very well, healthfully & happily in a very simple environment. In a lot of places now, codes inhibit simplicity. I am not saying that everyone has to live simply, but I wish that those people who wish to do so, have the freedom to live as simply as they wish. In any case, blessings to everyone.

  • Greg Burns May 5, 2015, 12:46 pm

    Thank you, Al, for the blessings! I can truly count mine on a daily basis: Currently, I am living in a very nice shelter with 17 other guys (in 9 bunk beds! YIKES!), plus about 5 single women, downstairs, and 3 “families” (i.e. Mothers with one or more children…). We are in a safe neighborhood. We receive 3 “nutritious” meals per day, usually donated and/or served by local Churches, Universities, or restaurants. We have weekly visits by a doctor and nurse. The Police Department is, um “next door” and the Fire Department across the street. The Library is around the corner, and there are numerous small shops, boutiques, and eateries located with walking distance, which often have job openings. The “Metro North” train station and “Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority” bus stops are only a couple of blocks from here. And there are numerous Churches close by for our Spiritual needs. So all of us are truly blessed! Everyone should “try” to “be homeless” for at least a couple of days in their life, preferably, during a cold or stormy period of time, and THEN folks would see EXACTLY what it feels like to lose hope! And ALSO, find out about how compassionate some other human beings can be! 🙂
    ALL my BEST! Greg

  • Likely May 5, 2015, 1:05 pm

    Homes for the homeless is a great idea. I’ve worked with the homeless population in my area and sometimes they just don’t want the responsibility of a ‘home’ however small and basic. But I commend the gentleman that took the time and expense to help. Truly a good and caring individual. I wish there were more of him out there.

    I read the comment about getting social services involved and can only say that part of our homeless population just don’t want ‘big brother’ involved in their lives in any way. I think ‘Tiny Houses’ is a great idea for our population that can’t afford OR just doesn’t want the typical life style so many hold dear…..just sayin 🙂

  • Canyon Man May 5, 2015, 1:38 pm

    I will try to keep this short.
    Homelessness has many facet as to why people are homeless, as well as to the size of families that are homeless.
    I have worked with individuals struggling with homelessness and also worked with some who for what ever reason did not want to be part of a “system.” Some it was the rules, others it was location while others simply did not want to be around or could not be around other people for any length of time.
    Is this small home a way to correct a problem? Not for everyone. But I will say this small abode with some security beats a cardboard box.
    To address thee whole problem, we as a nation need to look at the whole problem, as well as each of the individuals as a person with unique problems and situations.
    One of the major problems is the community that simply does not care. They are the communities that do nothing to address homelessness, or even pass absurd laws thwarting logical plans to help at least some of these people in a kind, compassionate way.
    It takes we the people showing us at local meetings, being involved while trying to work out solutions for individuals, not a problem.

  • anne stansell May 5, 2015, 1:49 pm

    This was a great idea. People are homeless for a lot of reasons, but the need is overwhelming. The goverment, cannot possibly address every homeless persons needs, but we as individuals, or churchs or private organizations can do alot of things to alleviate peoples suffering. This reminds me of the parable of the good samaritan. Thankfully we still have some. My prayers are with you Smokey, I am a senior too, may the rest of your days know peace. Aspirit

  • Varenikje May 5, 2015, 1:49 pm

    Is it just me, or does this “tiny house” not have a bathroom or kitchen or water? Admirable that Elvis did this, but obviously this woman’s problems are deeper than just a place to sleep (bedding?).

    • alice h May 5, 2015, 8:00 pm

      When you’re homeless you are most vulnerable when trying to sleep. Bathroom and food issues can be sorted out while you’re awake but having a place where you can sleep undisturbed without keeping half awake in case you need to get away is huge. To be able to totally let down your guard for any amount of time is precious. That’s one of the reasons shelters are so hard to stay in, you still need to be on guard at night and don’t get a lot of sleep. It’s good to be out of the weather but if it puts you in among untrustworthy people it’s not always an improvement.

  • Frank May 5, 2015, 2:21 pm

    I wrote my comment out of concern for Smokey. I saw palm trees. The video mentioned that this is taking place somewhere in downtown Los Angeles California. I know the weather there can sometimes be unbearable. Not all large cities address the problem of rodent infestation – NYC has about 3 rats per resident. I did not write it making myself appear better or snobbish for having concerns that she live in a proper setting. She does have a family that seems not to care for her needs and I did say that the builder is commendable for his random act of kindness. But large cities do have many services, both from the local government as-well-as the churches, that provide support and assistance to get people into temporary shelter and eventually a permanent proper home. I have friends and family members that have weathered the public shelter for a brief moment of their existence, survived and live better than I currently do thanks to does services rendered. When you are homeless, I have never been and hope no one misreads this and comments that I am a snob for not being so, it is extremely difficult to find a public restroom to do your basic necessities – let alone shower. And when you are homeless, I have not heard of anyone allowing an unknown homeless stranger, especially one who has not bath in a while, into there home to even wash their hands. Like someone mention, try being homeless to see their difficulties and struggles. I did not write my comment so that people can rant about government failure; this continues with all its faults and shortcomings the best structured country in existence – travel the world and you will get a better picture and appreciation of this country. People who are becoming aware of the tiny house/tiny home movement are clueless of the building codes and regulations in place to safeguard the dwellers from harm and even death. It’s not just about picking up wooden boards and nailing things together until it looks like something to live in…..it has to hold and support itself while providing safety…..Good luck to all who think else.

  • Cahow May 5, 2015, 4:43 pm

    Interesting story.

  • Brian May 5, 2015, 6:09 pm

    Very moving story of a man with heart and empathy for someone with a lot less than he has and prepared to make a effort to help change this ladies life. Top marks buddy and all the best to the lady.
    Thanks for sharing and cheers from Australia

  • JJ May 5, 2015, 6:09 pm

    The people commenting here who assume there are enough social workers, public housing & services are deluded. The fact that a “poorly ventilated box” (what about the window?) feels like a Taj Mahal to a homeless woman should be informative. We have too many land speculators & greedy developers taking up the land & displacing people. It’s happening here in Berkeley & the Bay Area. We need to rein them in so we have land to build truly affordable housing (affordable to minimum wage people & seniors on fixed incomes.)

  • Mr Lon May 5, 2015, 8:23 pm

    well done, elvis! a shame such acts are even necessary; it’s but one price of empire. and while capitalism is doing well and building middle classes in china, vietnam and elsewhere in asia, capitalism owes no alligience to – and has clearly failed – the working class in the usa. bad trade deals and the new purchasing power of these middle classes are in the process of hollowing out and buying outright the american worker’s remaining accumulated assets and savings.

  • David May 6, 2015, 1:18 am

    I think this is a good idea as a temporary home until this person find something more stable.

  • mountaingypsy May 6, 2015, 5:19 am

    The main thing, is this guy, unselfishly took his time and money to give to a stranger! It took time and skill to build. It is not about the codes, and social services needed, or rules, but his giving! Just think, how better this nation would be……..She probably thinks this is a mansion, it is hers and she is happy. Her happiness, and better place, for now is great.

    There are so many empty buildings, empty motels and such, that could house the homeless. It would be better than the street, or in the elements. Codes, crime and liability and such are excuses, when people need a roof. People can not get jobs, with no address, no clean clothes etc. This country is in much need for the homeless, with all the wealth, and McMansions some live in. Tiny house projects would be great! There was an older 2 level motel, in my town, that sat vacant, most of the exterior was gone, but each room was a cubby you could see, like a bee hive, that could have provided a roof, and was already near homeless people. Recently they tore it all down….

  • Barb B May 6, 2015, 7:45 am

    Say whatever you like—-Did anyone notice this lady’s face????? Says it all. That alone would have been worth everything.

  • ct May 6, 2015, 12:25 pm

    i do have concerns for this woman with regards to running water ie toilet. also, some would obviously try to cook, have a fire, do drugs, be robbed or worse. but as a person, i have always been concerned for those without shelter, esp women. women without shelter are vulnerable to every terror we can imagine. all homeless are the same mix as all population…..good, bad, frightened, earnest. what if each government property was required to house 10 people? real simple? no, but maybe possible. this woman has a spot with a door that locks. i cannot think of anything i would be more grateful for. kudoes to those who would do this for someone. but it is just the tip of the iceberg as to people,s needs. not a solution…but surely a blessing..

  • Toney May 6, 2015, 1:54 pm

    Great discussion, most of the time. I would like to recommend reading “When Helping Hurts: Alleviating the Poverty Without Hurting The Poor…And Ourselves”
    by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett

    Then get to work!

  • Greg Burns May 7, 2015, 9:26 am

    WOW! Has THIS sweet little story become one HECK of a “HOT BUTTON TOPIC”! Let me address a couple of things brought up, and/or NOT brought up. “Homelessness” can be caused by any number of things: loss of employment, loss of a family from death or divorce, loss of health, or a combination of all of the above. I had worked most of my life, since I was 16 years old, with just a couple of months of unemployment during the past 40 years. I took care of my elderly parents during the last few ears of their lives, and yet, my Sister, who, conveniently, works for a lawyer, got their will changed and wound up with literally everything! Do I HATE her? No. I AM, however, saddened that although blood is thicker than water, it ISN’T thicker than MONEY! And because of a massive head injury in January of 2007,I haven’t been able to find a job, yet don’t seem to “qualify” for any kind of “disability” or “social security”. So I have been living both on the streets and in numerous shelters since 2010. Do I “enjoy” it? Um, not really. But WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER! And as far as using restrooms and taking care of “personal hygiene”? Well, as long as you “don’t appear TOO homeless” (i.e. lugging around everything you own in plastic bags or shopping carts…), you can usually go into a shopping mall, hotel lobby, fast food restaurant, bus depot or train station, to find a potty and a sink. Also, there are usually “drop-in centers” in MOST larger cities that allow you to “hang out” in safety during the day, reading, watching the news on television, having coffee, taking a shower and/or doing laundry. Many of these places, as well as “soup kitchens” and “shelters” often give out used clothing, and “sample sized” toiletries. So, there ARE ways to “survive” on the streets (notice I DIDN’T say “live”? Because “surviving” and “living” are two completely different things!), without “imposing on” or “annoying” the general populace. Hope this clears a few misconceptions up! PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THE “HOMELESS” AND FIND COMPASSION IN YOUR HEART TO HELP THEM, um, US! With GRATITUDE! Greg

  • Janie May 7, 2015, 10:35 am

    I see from all of the comments before me that, as usual, people have opened up entire realms of debate and criticism that are off the immediate topic of what this amazing young man did. He quoted the following, “A person can’t help everyone, but everyone can help a person” and I think it’s important to bring it down to that simple statement…. She now has a place where she can go to sleep at night without fear of being robbed, raped or beaten. That is one nights sleep in peace. That’s what he gave her – no more, no less – and it’s worth a fortune.

  • Pilotgil May 7, 2015, 12:47 pm

    A great story in helping a fellow human being; however, the “real” problem that we all face is the over-regulated machine that saddles most of us to a life of servitude to the never-ending, cash eating, tax monster. Minimum house sizes are the “way” local governments extract cash from your pocket requiring many to work, live, and exist in way that is inconsistent with the purpose of life – that is to “live”.

    I recently looked at an empty lot which had a minimum requirement of a 2,400 square feet house under “air”! They were proud to tell me that if I were “frugal”, I could get “in” for about $200,000. Add a 30 year loan, special assements, property tax, utilities (yes you have to “connect” to the “public” utility ) and you have automatic servitude.

    Tiny homes are prohibited in most places because they “free” people from the mechanism that feeds other’s greed.

    Easy money makes prices skyrocket – for housing and student loans. Think back to the “stories” of yesteryear of miners who toiled through the day at the mine for simple wages only to have the “company” provided house rent and the “company” store extract most those wages back into the “company’s” bottom line. What’s the difference between that yesteryear model and the big-ag, big-banking, big-government model of today…in practical and personal terms, zero.

    Big debt means only one of two things: you slave and toil in fear of “losing it all” or you lose it all.

    I would not want of life on the streets; but also know that a life in bondage to bankers and government is just as bad. Tiny houses solve the most fundamental problem relating to our principles of life…to be free.

  • Cheryl May 10, 2015, 8:19 am

    God bless Elvis Summers! May his every endeavor serve to enrich his life as he has touched my heart with this project!! The gratitude this woman shows as he allows her to get a little dignity back made me cry!! If only something like this could be done for every homeless person!!

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