During the winter, people living on the streets are more in need of shelter than ever.
Clearly, affording a home is out of reach for many, and public shelters can only offer protection for some.
Enter, “Turtle Pods.”
They’re a completely mobile, insulated shelter that helps protect people from the elements at a low cost.
They’ve been designed by Werner Karsten, in response to the need expressed by participants in the Walk With Me project for a dry, safe, warm shelter for unhoused people.
He’s currently on his third prototype of the Turtle Pod.
The pods are made of marine plywood and have ventilation, fire-retardant insulation, and emergency exit options.
The newest version is about seven feet long, with large wheels for easy transport. The older one is about four feet long, with an extending end to create a bed-length pod.
“We are just trying to explore different strategies for accomplishing the task. The idea is just to create a mobile shelter,” he told the North Island Gazette.
“I think of it as supporting urban nomadism. It’s an insulated space that can keep people warm and safe in the winter, easily moveable.”
Although they’re small, they would give people an actual space to call their home, and could potentially be grouped together in a space.
It would be like the tiniest tiny home community.
“Hopefully, we can create a situation where we could have little communities of them if we work together,” said Karsten.
Karsten said if all goes according to plan, they would switch from being hand-built to a cheaper form of production.
“It is designed to be built with the help of CNC (computer numerical control) machinery, which would make it much, much faster.”
They might even put it out as a build-it-yourself IKEA-style package.
“There is a possibility that we could put these out as kits, and then other people could build them—a flat pack with all the pieces already cut and ready for assembly.”
We just hope everyone has at least one friend who enjoys putting together IKEA stuff.
If all goes well, the Walk With Me project will be applying for grant money to take the project to the next level.
They’re hoping to “explore possibilities for producing a series of Pods in Comox Valley, Campbell River and beyond.”
They’d also be open to private funding.
“We are hoping for it. We would have to convince somebody that it’s a good investment,” said Karsten.
You can keep updated on and learn more about the pods through the Walk With Me website.