Helping The Homeless

A grade 10 student built a 3D model of a homeless shelter; motivation to ideate and create it is stated below

India is a developing country with about 22 per cent of the population (2011-12) below the poverty line.

These people fall in various categories such as rural and urban poors to name a few. They live around roads, inside cement pipes and sewer holes. The first time I 'Krissh Goel', a grade 10 student of 'Step by Step' realised this was when I went to the Red Fort on a school trip in grade 6. Seeing people shiver as they slept on the streets made my heart clench. Once I had begun noticing this phenomenon, I would keep seeing it everywhere. Be it during train journeys where I saw people sleeping on the railway platforms or construction sites where workers slept amidst the rubble itself. This made me feel sympathy towards the homeless who work all day arranging for food and have no shelter to go back to rest.

To add on to existing misery, recently many citizens have lost their jobs during the Covid-19 lockdown. This along with the harsh winters of 2021 and 2022 made me wonder if there is an affordable and sustainable solution to the problem of homelessness. In an attempt to solve this problem, I contacted a material expert and a civil engineer. We sat down and brainstormed ideas to construct sustainable homeless shelters . After having considered hard plastic cubicles which weren’t a feasible option as they could not withstand the various weather conditions or repurposing existing shelters (which was not affordable), we landed on the idea of using discarded shipping containers, which were available in heaps.

Hereby, we began to research ways in order to make this idea come to life.


In the same stead I started researching ways to build cost-privy and accessible shelters for the homeless. One of the biggest problems turned out to be the excessive heat in the summer. I further looked for insulators to prevent the containers from overheating. I found several types of insulation materials which we filtered down to these 3 types of materials: Bubble Wrap Insulation, Double Bubble Insulation and insulation using Glass wool.

To maximise the occupancy I modelled a 3-tier system in which the second layer is foldable. This idea is inspired from the 3 tier sleeper concept in Indian railways. India experiences heavy rainfall and also humidity in summers.To combat a similar problem in the shelters, I plan to install the windows for ventilation in the sliding doors which can be closed and opened as per wish.

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