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Formerly Homeless Man Builds Micro Shelter for Homeless Friend

This formerly homeless man built a micro shelter for his homeless friend.

Peter Gould now lives in an apartment, and spent 40 hours and $600 creating this micro structure.

Please enjoy, learn more, and re-share below.

Formerly Homeless Man Builds Micro Shelter for Homeless Friend


Image via Adrian Lam, Times Colonist

Formerly Homeless Man Builds Micro Shelter for Homeless Friend 1

Screenshots via Times Colonist

Video: Tiny House for Homeless

From the Times Colonist:

Peter Gould wants to help Victoria’s homeless, one shopping-cart sized tiny house at a time.

“I struggled with housing, in shelters for a few years. Now that I have a place, I want to give back,” said Gould, 60, a former shipyard and iron worker on disability assistance.

The hobby woodworker brought his first effort — a 12-square-foot wooden home on wheels — to the Our Place Society courtyard Monday, where a stream of people came to check it out and ask if he had more.

“I see people come here every morning after sleeping outside. They’re not just cold or wet, they get sick. I just talked to one woman who lost her toes,” said Gould, who visits the homeless hub for meals every day.

Read the full story here.


  • Built by Peter Gould, formerly homeless
  • Took 40 hours to build
  • Micro shelter
  • Cost $600 in materials
  • Built in Victoria, Canada
  • 12 sq. ft.
  • 3 ft. high
  • Window from picture frame glass
  • Plywood and glue


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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 40 comments… add one }
  • Linton Tomlin
    November 17, 2016, 12:17 pm

    Wow, I would like to share building something like this for people in my area. I live in the Texas Hill Country. Any builders out there interested in a partner to build things like this? If so, contact me. I will supply tools, materials and work space. You can e-mail me at: [email protected].

    • Natalie
      November 18, 2016, 6:37 am

      I hope you find some folks! That’s so great of you, Linton. — Tiny House Talk Team

    • Kathy
      July 18, 2022, 8:09 pm

      How generous of you to want to pull this together! I wish I were back in San Antonio so I could help. I hope you find several wonderful people to volunteer. I would like to pass long a caution. I have not heard yet of wild fires in the beautiful Hill Country, and I hope its never a concern. But I have to tell you about a large encampment under a spaghetti overpass in San Francisco that burned in its entirety last week. Maybe you could reach out to Home Depot or Lowes to donate fire alarms and or those small little fire extinguishers to your project! In the winter when the people may be tempted to cook inside their shelter, a hand held extinguisher or one of those little extinguisher blankets would save a life! Good luck and please see that we hear about your ultimate success!

  • Claude
    November 17, 2016, 12:28 pm

    Great, it is a lot better than a cardboard box or a tent for the mild Victoria climate. Hope the city will accept the idea.

    • Natalie
      November 18, 2016, 6:38 am

      Me too! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • jm
    November 17, 2016, 12:39 pm

    $600 might seem a little high if it were to be widely distributed. Also would like some alternative to the canvas material. Like plywood that can be hinged and unfolded. But unless thay can be secured to one place somehow–what’s to keep someone from just carting it away? But if it can, then we can think solar panel, etc. But a good idea nontheless.

    • Natalie
      November 18, 2016, 6:39 am

      In another video I watched Peter said he thinks he could build it cheaper and quicker next time. And yes, I think a solution to the canvas is a great idea. — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Beach Gal
    November 17, 2016, 12:53 pm

    Are they stealing shopping carts to make these shopping cart houses? I am all for protective shelter and portability, but totally against all the shopping carts being diverted over the cities by homeless. There is simply not 600.00 of plywood, paint and hardware in this cart, maybe the cost is in a welded frame & wheels ?
    Bicycle tires on the side would make it easier to push, lots of old bikes go to the dump and scrap yards.. Maybe we can build one locally for homeless, great idea! Will use folding foam insulation board system, for feet verses tarp..

    • Natalie
      November 18, 2016, 6:41 am

      I do not believe anything was stolen. But those other ideas are good improvements 🙂 The point is that he was doing something nice for others. — Tiny House Talk Team

    • Michele
      November 30, 2016, 2:24 pm

      It actually said shopping cart “sized,” not that they were made from shopping carts. If you watch the video the guy said he made it from wood, glue and paint.

  • Janet
    November 17, 2016, 2:19 pm

    I LOVE stories like these. There are so many homeless people, but cities don’t provide for them. Here in Sacramento, CA, the city wanted to provide port-a-potty’s for the homeless so they wouldn’t use indoor facilities. They were more afraid of the drug users using them as places to shoot-up, so they disbanded the idea. There was a “tent city” but that was bull dozed as it was too cluttered. Instead of thinking from an establishment point of view, think from a homeless person’s point of view and maybe something can be accomplished. If the homeless became engaged in making their own shelter, think of the pride they would have in “owning” a safe place to sleep. Something must be done to address this. Homeless people are PEOPLE.

    • Natalie
      November 18, 2016, 6:42 am

      Totally agree Janet! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Silver Gypsy
    November 17, 2016, 4:10 pm

    There is something seriously wrong with our system of government that isn’t involved in some kind of out-reach program to keep people from freezing, starving, and losing their toes! We who give so much are expected to give some more while the codes and laws prohibit allocations for housing, whether that be for standard THOW’s or for Micro-thows for the homeless. The state governments need a wake-up call.

    • Natalie
      November 18, 2016, 6:43 am

      Agreed! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Sid
    November 17, 2016, 4:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing this with us, Natalie; Peter Gould’s efforts are inspiring. Also, thanks to those who made positive comments. For BG and anyone else who believes that shopping carts for the relatively wealthy/housed are more important than adapting some for the unhoused, there are no words.

    • Linton Tomlin
      November 18, 2016, 7:20 pm

      I agree, let’s keep it positive and moving forward. Nobody needs negative input, you can just keep that to yourself!!

    • Beach Gal
      November 19, 2016, 1:16 pm

      To SID, Linton,
      Mr Gould was creative, I did NOT accuse him of theft just being clear and was not trying to be negative.. To help each other is a wonderful humanitarian opportunity. The “Robin Hood mentallity” however is not, in my opinion the way to go about it.
      Because you have a shiny new wheel barrel in your yard and I am passing by your yard with my arm load does not give me the right to appropriate your wheel barrel… I am poor, I am not down on the poor.. It was a bit troubling to read that there are comments that appear to condone the theft of someones property if the person is poor and they are taking from the wealthy. I am glad you folks are not my neighbors..

      • Sid
        November 19, 2016, 8:34 pm

        Beach Gal, I’m sorry to have offended you with my reaction to your comment! I’m also sorry to learn that you are poor and hope your situation changes soon, and for the better. Please know, however, that if I did have a wheel barrel that you needed, shiny and new or otherwise, I’d gladly lend it to you (or give it to you, if you needed it more). My things are there for everybody, as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

        • Sid
          November 19, 2016, 8:35 pm

          Wheelbarrow, that is. My apologies…again, lol! ;D

  • Pama Bennett
    November 17, 2016, 4:39 pm

    Nice prototype, but I think it needs to be bigger—–also, how does that heater work exactly??

    • Natalie
      November 21, 2016, 10:29 am

      He says the candle heats the metal and puts off some heat. Not sure it’s super effective, but perhaps better than nothing! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Frank Koehnle Jr
    November 17, 2016, 6:02 pm

    I love it , I think he should set up a fund to raise money and get others all over the Country to start shops , great idea for the homeless and I also think folks need to get the cities to set up a spot where the homeless can set these tiny homes with soup kitchen and work assignment so they have a chance to get on their feet – God Bless this man for caring about other

    • Natalie
      November 21, 2016, 10:30 am

      I totally agree, Frank! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Pam
    November 18, 2016, 10:45 am

    This is a wonderful tiny contribution. I do believe we should be working with the homeless population to build many more. What kind of regulations do we anticipate?

    • Natalie
      November 21, 2016, 10:31 am

      I loved Peter’s work, but I immediately imagined cities being displeased with these adorable tiny dwellings 🙁 — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Sarah
    November 18, 2016, 3:46 pm

    What a neat guy you are, Mr. Gould! I applaud your efforts, especially since it looks like you’ve been there yourself. So many people in this country I have read are just a few paychecks from being homeless themselves. I took a major pay cut and I understand the fears. What a neat solution to start.

    • Natalie
      November 21, 2016, 10:32 am

      Sorry about your situation Sarah. I loved Mr. Gould’s work. — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Susanne
    November 19, 2016, 2:39 pm

    God bless this man but oh my these are too tiny! I recall another one built for a homeless lady- $500 I believe the guy spent- it was larger than this, had a lock on it, and she could easily push it in order to move it from parking spot to parking spot.

    • Natalie
      November 21, 2016, 10:32 am

      I do think something bigger would be ideal. I think it’s great that Peter did this, though! — Tiny House Talk Team

    • Cathy
      December 11, 2016, 12:58 pm

      I found the one you were talking about. It was a lot bigger and can’t be moved by herself unfortunately. I believe Mr Gould is onto something. It would be great if it could be made out of a lighter material so it could be moved easier. Has Mr Gould heard from any companies or people that could take this further?

      • Natalie
        December 12, 2016, 1:11 pm

        I don’t know if he has, I’m afraid. I hope so! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Linton Tomlin
    November 19, 2016, 2:47 pm

    Beach Gal, if you would read the original post correctly, it said: “shopping-cart SIZED”. You are the one that brought the idea that he was stealing shopping carts into the discussion. And for the record, I pity your neighbors.

    • Beach Gal
      November 19, 2016, 9:17 pm

      Sid, thank you for your kind comment.
      I am blessed to live in a mountain neighborhood where we share our resources with each other and can give shelter on our piece of land to homeless persons. We live Off-Grid but our homeless guests have never cared.
      Fortunately we have a climate where camping in a tent in the woods, works. Our focus has been helping women with children.. Everyone helping at least one person would greatly reduce the homelessness on the streets. It has in our community…

      • Natalie
        November 21, 2016, 10:33 am

        So true! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Rand
    November 28, 2016, 12:27 pm

    I bet you that beach gal would call the cops pretty fast if I would walk in her house and start fixing myself dinner and using her toilet and shower

  • Michele
    November 30, 2016, 2:27 pm

    This is actually kind of Ingenius because you can wheel your house around while keeping all your stuff inside, instead of in a shopping cart. I think it cold be a bit more roomy though.

    My heart breaks when I hear about disabled and mentally ill people who are homeless. Our country as a whole should treat its people better. We give so much to other countries, the government should do more to aid the people here who need the help. Nobody who wants a warm, dry place to live should be homeless.

    • Natalie
      December 1, 2016, 10:43 am

      It really is a fantastic idea! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Mary Joe Brown
    December 2, 2016, 3:20 pm

    Please send me any info you have on getting permission from the city, permits and regulations. Did you get lumber etc donated? This could really help all bid cities. Thanks, looking forward to receiving info from your group.

  • Patty
    February 8, 2017, 3:33 am

    Good job! Thanks for doing that for your friend.

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