A German city has unveiled an innovative plan to house the homeless, The Independent UK reported on Friday.
The city of Ulm – 75 miles west of Munich – introduced weatherproof sleeping pods on Jan. 8 as an “emergency last resort” option for homeless people who lack access to traditional homeless shelters, The Independent reported.
The capsules have been installed in the streets of Ulm in parks and other areas where homeless people are known to frequent, according to a city spokesperson, The Independent reported.
The weatherproof structures are made out of wood and steel, guarantee fresh air circulation, and can house up to two people, according to The Independent.
The pods are also equipped with solar panels and connected to a radio network to allow for mobile-free network communication, according to the Independent. (RELATED: Pope Offers Free COVID Testing At Vatican For Homeless Population)
Insulated sleep pods, known as ‘Ulmer Nest’ have been installed in a German city to shelter homeless people during the cold winter months. The pods are made out of wood and steel, and had been placed in parks and other areas.#ulmernest #sleeppods #homeless #homedesign #germany pic.twitter.com/r4Hf8o2Egs
— Home Decor News (@HomeDecorNews) January 21, 2021
Although there is no surveillance in the pods to ensure privacy, a motion sensor is automatically activated when the doors open alerting social workers to the presence of an occupant. The sensor is also included so that social workers can keep track of which pods need to be cleaned, and in case a user requires assistance acclimating to the unique living space, The Independent reported.
The creators of the “Ulmer Nest” have noted that the pods are not meant to replace traditional housing and hostel facilities. The structures are strictly for homeless people who would otherwise be sleeping outdoors because they cannot access conventional shelters due to psychological problems or because they have a pet, according to the Independent.
The inventors also revealed that there was a delay in installation due to COVID-19, but that the structures are now installed just in time for the “coldest nights,” according to The Independent.
Experiments are currently underway to determine if the pods protect against frostbite. If so, they could be adjusted for a nationwide rollout.