For us, United in Humanity means community and togetherness. And it also means supporting those people who have lost all support and suddenly find themselves on the fringes of society.
Homeless people face great challenges every day. Having to ask themselves repeatedly every day where they can find a warm and safe place to sleep, where they can wash themselves, and go to the toilet costs these people a lot of energy and time--a big 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 housing boxes - with volunteers and financed by donations - and giving them away to homeless people.
Last week, we as a team built such a liveable space for a homeless person in Cologne -- already the 181st Little Home since the beginning of the project. The 3.2 sqm 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 housing box resident Andre, who now lives in a flat. The principle of Little Home is that the living spaces 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 side walls, including windows and a door. In addition to plywood panels as cladding, materials for thermal insulation were installed to guarantee pleasant temperatures inside the livable space even in the cold seasons. The parts were then assembled on a base plate made of pallets. This is also on castors to comply with the legal requirement that Tiny Houses are mobile, though, in practice, they actually always stay in one place. The next step was to erect the roof and make it weatherproof. This was followed by painting 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 with the craft and got to know each other from a whole new side.
For a homeless person, moving into a liveable space is only the first step on a long way 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, and helps them, for example, with visits to the authorities. With this holistic approach, they were able to successfully relocate more than 100 people to a proper flat and almost as many have a job.
Would you also like to build a liveable space with your team, your crew, or your group of friends? Get in touch with Little Home. Building campaigns can now take place in many cities in Germany. You can find all the information on the website of Little Home e.V..