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Homelessness is a broad and complex issue, but there is no arguing that addressing the basic need for shelter is one of the top priorities when trying to solve it. Bas Timmer, a designer from Holland, has come up with an innovative potable shelter for the homeless. It’s called Sheltersuit and it’s basically a shelter that can also be used as a jacket. Bas created it in association with Alexander de Groot, and the main inspiration was a friend’s father who died living on the streets.

While the design of the actual shelter very closely resembles a thick sleeping bag it is much more than that. The shelter offers warmth, while it is also made from durable materials, is waterproof and simple to use. What’s more, the suit is also made from recycled and repurposed tent material, which gets left behind after festivals. The shelter suits are also sewn with the aid professional tailors who also Syrian refugees. The latter create the suits in exchange for getting to participate in assimilation classes for free, as well as to get help in finding housing.

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Currently, there are plans in place for 2,500 of these Sheltersuits to be distributed to the Dutch homeless free of charge through the Sheltersuit foundation. While this is not an actual house, or temporary shelter, it is still a very effective way of assisting the homeless. It may not be a comprehensive solution, but it will keep many from freezing to death this winter.

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And given that the suits are made from recycled materials and by refugees, the Sheltersuit also helps in the alleviation of those two problems. In short, it’s an all around green and sustainable (both environmentally and socially) product, and I’d love to see this adopted by more countries in an effort to combat the problem of homelessness.