United in Humanity // Little Home
To us, United in Humanity means community and togetherness. And it also means supporting those people who have lost all stability and suddenly find themselves on the fringes of society.
Homeless people face great challenges every day. Having to ask themselves anew day by day where they can find a warm and safe place to sleep, where they can wash and go to the toilet costs these people a lot of energy and time – a major hurdle especially for those who want to find their way back into society.
The Cologne-based association Little Home e.V. has taken on this problem. Since 2016, it has been building living boxes – with volunteers and financed by donations – and giving them away to homeless people.
Last week, we as a team built such a housing box for a homeless person in Cologne. It was already the 181st Little Home since the beginning of the project. The 3.2 square meter wooden huts are intended to provide a safe retreat for the homeless and to give them a perspective. Equipped with a bed, a shelf, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a camping toilet, and a small work surface, they are a safe base for everyday life.
We were guided by project leader Sven, housing box resident Patrick and former living box resident Andre, who now lives in an apartment. The principle of Little Home is that the boxes are always built jointly by homeless people and volunteers. It is important to the association to build a bridge into society and to promote togetherness.
On the construction day, we were first divided into small teams that took care of the construction of the individual sidewalls - including windows and a door. In addition to plywood panels as paneling, materials for thermal insulation were installed to guarantee pleasant temperatures inside the small hut even in the colder months of the year. The parts were then assembled on a base plate made of pallets. This is on wheels to comply with the legal requirement that tiny houses must be mobile – although in practice they actually stay in one place all the time. The next step was to erect the roof and make it weatherproof. This was followed by painting the house in two colors of our choice and finishing the interior with a bed and a small sideboard. At the end of the quite exhausting day, we were proud and happy to have created something that will stay and hopefully have a lasting positive impact. As a team, we had a lot of fun crafting and got to know a whole new side of each other.
By the way, for a homeless person, moving into a housing box – if that's what they're striving for – is just the first step on a long journey back into the social system. For this reason, Little Home no longer only provides the accommodation but also accompanies the residents emotionally, removes hurdles, motivates them, and helps, for example, with visits to the authorities. With this holistic approach, they were able to achieve that more than 100 people now live in a real apartment and almost as many have a job.
You would like to build a living box with your team or group of friends? Contact Little Home. By now, the building campaigns can take place in many cities in Germany. You can find all information on the website of Little Home e.V..