When disaster hit Haiti, readers said we should team up with some of the folks behind the many container projects we've featured to get shelter to the disaster areas. It seems like a good idea, and PFNC Global Communities makes an interesting sub-$10,000 container home. But it may not be a good idea.
In disasters, housing relief should include some combination of temporary and permanent solutions, and I'm not sure whether a container home would work as either one in Haiti. We believe something like this Shelter Box could provide some temporary relief.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 200,000 tents are needed for approximately 1,000,000 displaced people. In fact, competition for the tents has led to machete fights in some instances, according to the Associated Press. Or tents have been stolen and sold for profit, according to the NY Times.
We believe shelter is a basic human need worth supporting. As reported by the BBC, these Shelter Boxes are being given to families that need them, such as those with newborn babies and pregnant women in Haiti.
Therefore, in an effort to help and ease a major need, we encourage our readers to join with us and donate as much as possible to proliferate these tents. A Shelter Box weighs 110 pounds and is packed with a ten-person tent, as well as blankets, sleeping bags, tools, and other items. One complete Shelter Box costs $1,000.
If you have the ability, it seems that a donation could make a big, timely difference. Feel free to let us know if you've found other effective ways to help.