While everyone seemed to be out soaking up some rare Seattle sunshine this weekend, about a dozen TUNE employees were building a home.
To be fair, it was a home designed for quick and easy construction, but still, an invaluable resource to someone who is trying to transition out of homelessness. The build was part of The Pod Project, an initiative created by Seattle architect Mark Huber.
Huber designed the Pods — a cheaper, more portable cousin to the tiny home — to offer homeless people a safe, secure shelter while they work toward transitioning into permanent housing. The Pods cost $1,500 and can be constructed and deconstructed in just 30 minutes.
TUNE, the Seattle-based mobile analytics company, donated a Pod and employees donated their labor to the project during Saturday’s build. The Pods are being distributed through HomeAid, a non-profit focused on sheltering people living on the streets.
“What’s great about the Pod Project, they can be transported in the back of a pickup truck, they’re lightweight and even better, they can be set up in a half hour,” Leanne Woodland of HomeAid Puget Sound said in a video about the initiative.
Huber sees the benefits of the Pods as twofold — people in need of shelter get a safe, secure place to stay and communities are more open to the aesthetics of tiny homes rather than tent cities.
“What the community sees is, when they see a tent city, they see a half-hazard, jumble of tarps,” he said in the video. “It doesn’t go with the system. If a community has 20 small houses or pods, they go, ‘OK, those are just little structures, kind of like having fireworks stands set up.’ That fits fine. It’s part of the system.”
The tiny home solution is gaining traction as a way to help people transition out of homelessness. Another Seattle architect recently founded the BLOCK Project, which places self-sustaining tiny homes in the backyards of homeowners. Those hosts are matched with a person in need of a home to live there while securing permanent housing.
The tech community plays a complicated role in Seattle’s homelessness crisis. Rents and home prices are increasing rapidly due, in part, to a fast-growing population of well-paid workers. Increasingly, we’re seeing members of the tech world address the problem head-on, as TUNE did this weekend.
“At TUNE, we’re always looking for ways to bring our team together to support ideas, people, and causes that will have a positive impact on the broader Seattle community,” said Hillary Robinson, TUNE’s community engagement coordinator. “Mark’s Pod Project is an awesome idea and we jumped at the chance to support his mission to provide homeless people with a small shelter. My hope is that others from around the Seattle community will do the same – it’s a great way to create and give back at the same time.”