The Community Alliance for Sheltering Alternatives unveiled the first Conestoga Hut in Victoria today.
The huts are micro-shelters which are 60 sq. ft. and the idea is to provide temporary shelter for homeless people until they can find a more permanent home.
The group put together a GoFundMe with the goal of raising $4,000 to build one shelter, but actually doubled their fundraising goal so they will be building a second.
“Our goal is to demonstrate that community initiatives can offer new solutions to support people experiencing homelessness,” the CASA group said in a statement. “Conestoga Huts offer a proven model: they are lockable, dry, insulated and easy to build. This is an alternative to sleeping in doorways or parks, and we’d like to see this model explored as a temporary interim solution to shelter while unhoused people wait for social housing to come online.”
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The group says they are building on a model that they say has been successful in cities in the United States, like Eugene, Oregon, where there are around 150 Conestoga Huts.
This Conestoga Hut will be placed at Shelbourne Street Church, where the church and CASA are working with bylaw to grant an exemption to allow someone to live in the hut.
CASA says the group is currently building a second shelter that will be complete in the coming week, where a man named Alex they previously featured in a video will be allowed to live until he can find more permanent housing.
The group has not released the location of the second hut.