This Man's Starting A Movement To Build Tiny Homes For The Homeless
A man who built a tiny house for a homeless woman has already raised over $60,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to do the same for others in South Los Angeles.
Last month, 38-year-old Elvis Summers uploaded a YouTube video of him building an 8-foot-long wooden house with wheels for 60-year-old Irene "Smokie" McGhee, a grandmother who's been homeless for over ten years, according to the Associated Press. In the clip below, Summers gives McGhee a hug when he's finished constructing it, she unlocks the door to her new house, and hangs up a "Home Sweet Home" sign on the door. The video has already garnered over 5.7 million views.
"I feel marvelous," McGhee told ABC News. "You can't even explain how I feel. I'm on my way to a different life. I want to get my own place and all of that. He's my guardian angel.
Summers befriended McGhee after she asked him for recyclables. She has been homeless since 2004 when her husband died and she couldn't afford to continue living in the home they had together.
It seems like authorities won't be bothering her about her new portable home. Local police have told McGhee that she can keep her miniature home as long as she moves it every three days.
Summers says it cost him less than $500 to buy the materials for McGhee's house. He launched a GoFundMe campaign titled "Tiny House Huge Purpose" on April 13 for the purpose of building "tiny houses for homeless Women, Men, Children, US Veterans and Families," according to the website. He's already raised over $61,000 of his $100,000 goal.
He may be inspiring folks in what he's saying some are calling a movement, as people from all walks of life—from carpenters to retirees—are contacting him and asking how they can help. Summers started a nonprofit, and also wants to start hiring homeless people to help him out with the construction of the tiny homes.
"I just wanted to do something nice for Smokie," Summers told ABC News. "That was just the start and the end of my plan. I had no idea this was going to explode. Goal is to find some land vacant land to not only build more but to temporary place them so these people can build themselves back up and reintegrate into society."