For us, United in Humanity means community and togetherness. And it also means supporting those people who have lost their footing and suddenly find themselves on the fringes of society.
Homeless people face great challenges every day. Having to ask themselves every day where they can find a warm and safe place to sleep, where they can wash and go to the toilet costs these people a lot of energy and time - a major hurdle, especially for those who want to find their way back into society .
The Cologne association Little Home eV has taken on this problem. Since 2016 he has been building housing boxes with volunteer helpers and financed by donations and giving them away to the homeless.
Last week we as a team built such a living box for a homeless person in Cologne - already the 181st Little Home since the beginning of the project. The 3.2 square meter 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 manager Sven, Wohnbox resident Patrick and former Wohnbox resident Andre, who now lives in an apartment. Because - according to the principle of Little Home - the living boxes are always built together by homeless people and volunteers. It is important to the association to build a bridge into society and to promote togetherness.
On the day of construction, we were initially 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, which guarantee pleasant temperatures inside the living box even in the colder seasons. The parts were then assembled on a base plate made of pallets. This is on wheels to comply with the legal requirement that tiny houses are mobile - although in practice they 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 the interior fittings with a bed and a small sideboard. At the end of the exhausting day, we were proud and happy to have created something that will last 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 completely new side.
Incidentally, for a homeless person, moving into a living box – if they aspire to it – 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, breaks down hurdles, motivates them and helps, for example, with visits to the authorities. With this holistic approach, they were able to ensure that more than 100 people now live in a real apartment and almost as many have a job.
Would you like to build a living box with your team, crew or group of friends? Report to Little Home. In the meantime, the construction campaigns can take place in many cities in Germany. All information can be found on the Little Home eV website.