Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Urban Adventures with the Mad Housers

A Mad Houser- built hut.
This weekend I volunteered with the Mad Housers, which is an all-volunteer organization that builds small huts for homeless individuals.  The goal is to provide them shelter from the elements and a secure place to lock up their things and to sleep.  What makes this group so incredible is that they give shelters (called huts) to people for free, providing a sense of ownership and responsibility.  The other really cool thing is that the huts are located out in hidden sites around in the community.

Our job this week was to respond to client's requests for repairs and/or put finishing touches on newly built huts.  After picking up tools and supplies at the Mad Housers warehouse, we drove to the site and met the client.  We repaired his leaky roof, added a ladder to provide access to the loft, and painted the outside green to provide added camouflage.  My task was to climb up into the loft and caulk gaps between the plywood.  Lying up there feeling the wind coming through the cracks, I couldn't help but shiver at the thought of spending the cold winter in what is basically a small, uninsulated shed.

The president of the group was our team leader for the day and was really friendly, and a super guy.   He was great at explaining everything and at giving us all jobs and teaching us what to do so everyone could contribute.

It's amazing to think that within the city, there is this completely hidden world out there.  Outside of view but closer to the rest of the world than you'd imagine, people are living with very little.  Please check out the Mad Housers website and do everything you can to support this incredible organization!

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