Mobile sleeping shelter for homeless residents launched in Abbotsford

Members of 5 and 2 Ministries and Fraser Valley Atheists, Skeptics and Humanists have built a mobile sleeping unit and plan to create more

Members of the 5 and 2 Ministries and Fraser Valley Atheists

Some of Abbotsford’s homeless residents might soon have a drier place to sleep thanks to the combined efforts of the 5 and 2 Ministries and the Fraser Valley Atheists, Skeptics and Humanists group (FVASH).

Ward Draper of 5 and 2 and Jeff Gruban of FVASH came together to build a pilot project of a mobile sleeping unit for the homeless.

The prototype is currently being used by a man named Jesse and Draper said “he loves it,” adding that their goal is to build more soon.

Draper said the shelters will cost about $150 to $200 to build and are made out of plywood with industrial strength wheels and castors. He said the structures – which are about two metres long, one metre wide, and over a metre at the centre – are also covered in a clear sealant to stop water from leaking in.

He said the prototype has a coffee can mounted in order to hold a candle, which keeps a fire contained and is much safer than candles kept in tents.

Draper said the concept is superior to tents, as not only does it increase safety, it helps to keep people warm and therefore healthier.

“We’re going to be saving a lot of people from getting very sick with bronchitis, pneumonia, lung infections and cold and flus.”

Draper said he and Gruban hope to roll out about 40 units in the next couple months, getting people off the ground and out of wet tents and into a place that is dry and warm.

He said they will start to consult with people on the streets to find out how the project will work best and what changes to the structure may need to be made. Draper said the shelters aren’t welded together, so should a problem arise, the roof could easily be pushed off.

Draper had previously raised the idea of creating a sanctioned camp such as Portland’s Dignity Village, and said this latest project is a step towards that goal.  He said that although technically such structures can’t be built on public land, because they fulfill a need to house the homeless, Draper said it pushes the issue forward.

“This is a step towards a more permanent solution.”

Mayor Bruce Banman said it is good to see that community members are “thinking outside the box” to find solutions for issues of homelessness, but said the community must be careful of jumping at any idea.

Banman said mobile shelters are not a long-term solution to homelessness and “we have to be careful we aren’t putting people in harm’s way.”

He said the shelters must be safe from risks like fires, and suggested that fire services and the city’s social advisory committee assess the idea and the structures, making safety the top priority.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

TRAFFIC: Section of 16 Avenue shutdown after dump truck, SUV collision

Collision occurred at 16 Avenue and 242nd Street

Illicit dumping an expensive problem for Langley Township

Six incidents in three weeks have cost $60,000

Let Langley seniors centre do the cooking for Thanksgiving

The centre has a special offer of a complete turkey dinner to go. The order deadline is approaching

LETTER: Quiet Langley street feels like Indy 500 track

Drivers gunning it on her street has one local resident irked

Langley rotary volunteers take to the streets to promote lottery fundraiser

Local clubs have raised $17,000 so far for 50/50 lottery

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

COVID-19 testing lineup wraps around block in Chilliwack

Testing lineup includes seniors, children and their parents as demand seems to surge

Former worker at Surrey brewery claims he was bullied on the job

Human rights complaint to be heard against Surrey’s Central City Brewers and Distillers Ltd.

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Most Read