Hawaii Hits the Road to Help Homeless

Old city buses in Hawaii are going to be converted into homeless shelters if architecture firm Group 70 International is successful.

Old city buses in Hawaii are going to be converted into homeless shelters if architecture firm Group 70 International is successful.

Hawaii has one of the worst homeless rates in the country. In a 2014 “State of Homelessness in America” report, Hawaii ranked highest among the 50 states for homeless people per capita with 45.1 percent; the national rate was 19.3 percent. Up to 70 old city buses in Hawaii are going to be converted into homeless shelters if architecture firm Group 70 International is successful. The vehicles are to operate in fleets, with different units dedicated to different purposes, from living spaces to recreation rooms.

The design “is based on the premise that you could walk in to a hardware store, buy everything you need in one go and build everything with no trade skills,” so that it can be built by a team of untrained volunteers. LIFT, the volunteer organization helping to execute the project, hopes to build two buses by the end of this summer. 70 buses and all the material required for renovations will be donated.

The buses themselves are still in good functioning order—they’ve simply been retired due to their advanced mileage. Unlike an RV, which is basically a house on wheels, each bus will be fitted out to serve a distinct purpose—some will have beds and screens to provide shelter, others will provide showers and basic hygiene facilities while a third design allows for recreational space. The layout of different buses have been utilized in different designs, and those with doors in both front and back can be divided in the center for privacy so as to house two families.

Pictures of the plan here.

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