Hawaii Is Turning Retired City Buses Into Homeless Shelters, And Hopefully It Will Inspire Others To Do The Same
For once, there's some good news about the United States' homelessness problem. Hawaii is turning retired city buses into homeless shelters, complete with showers and even recreation rooms, as long as architecture firm Group 70 International gets their way. Working with Honolulu's Executive Director of Housing, the architects plan on creating an entire fleet of buses, so that each bus will have a specific designation rather than being a collection of RVs. As mentioned above, some are being designed as bathrooms and showers; others will be sleeping areas. It sounds like a monumental task, but support for the project has been surprisingly strong. "When we started we did not even realize... how many people want to help," May Ry Kim, an employee of Group 70 International, told Hawaii News, which is good because there's no doubt that the project will need the help. Everything is based solely on volunteer work, and the decommissioned LIFT buses are available thanks to donations. Luckily, the project is designed with that in mind. Converting the buses takes no training, according to Kim, because it is "based on the premise that you could walk in to a hardware store, buy everything you need in one go and build everything with no trade skills."
Hawaii has notoriously strict policies toward the homeless, including a ban on sitting or lying on a busy sidewalk between 5 AM and 11 PM, which some state is counterproductive. According to Hawaii News, Kim hopes to finish the first two shelters this summer, along with three others by the rest of the year. It's a far cry from the effort to move homeless people out to a remote island that made the rounds last year. The project is still looking for a nonprofit to execute the designs, but with all the attention it has been receiving, it looks like there won't be any shortage of volunteers. For more information on the project, head over to the Group 70 International website.