If you saw a man or woman sleeping in the streets near your house, day in and day out, would it cross your mind to do something about it? For Elvis Summers, it wasn’t a choice whether or not he should help out the 60-year-old homeless woman named Smokie that slept just a few doors down from him in the dirt. He just knew it had to be done.
This story began with a bit more of a friendship than you’d typically expect to hear about between citizens and homeless citizens. Smokie would show up at Elvis’ LA apartment looking for recyclables. It was through these conversations that a friendship was born – one which ultimately led Elvis to build a tiny home for Smokie so that she would have a place to stay.
Elvis Was Inspired
Elvis was inspired to do this project after hearing about a man in Oakland who had been making tiny houses out of discarded material.
In an act of great kindness, he decided to make some adjustments in his own financial situation so he could buy the materials needed to make Smokie a brand new shelter. After only 5 days of building, the tiny house was complete, and now for the first time in 10 years Smokie has a real place to call home.
“I had nowhere to really build it, so I just built it in the street outside of my apartment,” he told Good News Network. “The local LAPD cops have been super cool, and have told me they support it – as long as we move it to a different spot every 72 hours.”
The video below is a time lapse of how he built the tiny home, which includes two locks on the front door and sturdy wheels to move it around easily. The total cost was only $500.
“I’ve met so many homeless people, good people. Since I built Smokie’s, I’ve had several people ask me to make them a tiny home and it’s turned into much more than just the one house I wanted to build.”
People Coming Together
Elvis wants to be able to make more homes for the people who have reached out to him, but he cannot afford to do it on his own. Rick Sassen, branch manager at supply company Allied Building, donated the roof shingles and cedar siding for Smokie’s tiny home and has promised to work out a deal to help build future homes. But things are still a bit short.
So Elvis decided to run a crowdfunding campaign called “Mythpla” (My Tiny House Project LA) for those who want to help, on GoFundMe.
“I’d like to offer purpose to these people in need and hire them to build the houses with me. I’ve even set an appointment with LA’s Mayor Eric Garcetti to try and get his help,” said Elvis. “The city owns or controls many properties which are just sitting collecting dust and could be used, even temporarily, to help save lives.”