When faced with the reality of homelessness, most people prefer to look away.
In California, where the homeless population has become a very visible issue, and despite all of the promises made by legislators to try and help them, it seems that nothing is truly done for them, and they are left to fend for themselves. Most people would not stir themselves to do anything for the homeless. Most people are not Elvis Summer.
The story of Elvis Summer’s crusade of tiny homes for the homeless started around April 2015, with the first construction of one of his homes for a homeless woman he met, named Smokie. His pity for this woman’s plight, combined with what was likely a previous experience of being homeless, according to various sources, gave him the empathy that led him to help the homeless when many others wouldn’t know where to begin.
Elvis was inspired by other tiny homes he had previously witnessed and they gave him the motivation to want to build some himself.
The mobile shelter, designed with wheels so that it could move and likely prevent accusations of loitering, was finished and documented through a YouTube video, which led to the expansion of Summers’s construction projects, named ‘Tiny House, Huge Purpose.’ The video outlined his entire construction process, from wooden frame to a functional, one-room home on wheels. These tiny homes continued to be built by him and others sympathetic to his cause, allowing more homeless people a private and safe place to lay their heads.
The increased publicity of his work became the source of the cash flow he required, and thanks to crowd-funding he was able to continue to build these simple, yet amazing homes.
Since April 13, 2015, he has used the website gofundme.com as a place where people could donate even as little as five dollars to meet the financial costs required for his projects. Naturally, social media such as Facebook and Twitter played a role in spreading word of what Summers was planning. Fortunately, many people responded, and over $90,000 has already been raised for the tiny homes, already surpassing the previous goal to raise $50,000 to build at least 100 shelters. You can even donate directly from his website, safely through Paypal.
In fact, there have been numerous recent news stories that talk about these tiny homes being seized because of complaints from the public, as well as citations regarding the homes being health hazards. However true these complaints may be, the problem regarding the homeless remains the same, which is why Elvis Summers started his project to begin with. As he points out, the temporary solution of the tiny homes was still a solution, when the government refuses to take action despite constantly promising that they’ll tackle the issue.
From his perspective, since few people were willing to do anything, someone had to stand up and address the matter in a practical sense. Elvis Summers started with one person: Himself. One of the most recently published interviews on YouTube with Summers, features Luke Rudkowski of We Are Change. Summers expressed that he is not willing to give up on helping the homeless, despite the opposition that faces him. If anything, it only seems to encourage him.
In a country that seems unable to truly deal with the rising problem of people remaining without homes, Elvis Summers was willing to devote his time and energy to doing what he could.
The government, in response, has cited all sorts of problems and threatened, and continues to threaten, to take away these shelters. With the resulting battle over the issue, one thing is clear; the homeless problem is here to stay.