In 2015, Elvis Summers built the first mobile mini house for a homeless woman in his neighborhood. Since then over 50 such lodgings have appeared on the streets of Los Angeles.
What started as an act of kindness, today is the man’s life mission.
Elvis got acquainted with Smokie near his house. Every morning the woman would come to ask for some recyclables. During one of their chats Summers learned the woman had been sleeping just next to his building.
Smokie had a son who had tried to help her obtain a shelter, but he had so many problems himself that the woman didn’t want to be a burden.
This impressed Elvis so much that he decided to find a way to help Smokie
One day he came across an article about tiny houses made from discarded material. It was exactly what he needed.
“The homeless are simply people – people without homes. Becoming homeless can, does and will happen to anyone,” Elvis says in an interview to SBS.
The man spent five days and $500 to give Smokie a safe space to live and sleep
His good deed received broad attention in mass and social media.
Dozens of people asked Summers to help them obtain a roof over their heads. Others offered their assistance to build those roofs.
“It’s turned into much more than just the one house I wanted to build,” the man says.
In 2016 Elvis collected over $100,000 to finance the project of building shelters
His goal was to make small communities of tiny houses for the homeless so they could get a good night’s rest and comfort.
“I’d like to offer purpose to these people in need and hire them to build the houses with me,” said Elvis.
The man had built 38 houses. Then LA authorities began to confiscate them
It was in February 2016.
According to City Councilman Curren Price, who requested the removals, “the houses blocked sidewalks and put neighbors at risk, particularly schoolchildren”.
With the help of supportive people Elvis managed to prove that his tiny houses are a necessity for the city.
It was not a permanent solution, but “rather a stepping stone and a damn good, humane one at that.”
Finally, Elvis won that battle
Authorities returned houses to their owner but he had to put them at a church lot in Compton. Moreover, they promised Summers to work together.
Despite all difficulties the good-doer is developing his project further. Recently the man has started constructing mobile shower units.
He says that it’s just the first step to helping the homeless.
“We shouldn’t let other human beings live and die. People need a safe place to be. And the tiny houses can be the first step,” he says.
Local charter school students help Summers build more advanced solar-powered shelters with smoke detectors, alarms on the windows, a solar panel on the roof, a new carpet and a compost toilet.
Together they make even a greater difference.
“As human beings we need to do better. We can do better. Helping people is the right thing to do,” Summers says.
Featured image: Facebook