Spring 2018 homeless shelter study course at Fort Lewis College


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On November 13, 2017, Community Compassion Outreach Program (CCOP) of Durango Christian Church met with Professor Don May of the Engineering Department at Fort Lewis College (FLC) in Durango, Colorado. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the details of the Humanitarian House International “HHI House” for the Homeless. The HHI House is one of two or three best designs of the Engineering 315 junior class to be studied by students.

SWColorado Homeless Collaborative
From left to right, Professor Don May, PhD., P.E.; Stuart Ohlson, AIA; Pastor Jon Alsdorf (background); Bob Bennett; and, Sara Carver (CCOP volunteer).

Proposed transitional shelter for La Plata County’s Homeless

The HHI House is proposed as a transitional shelter to provide people experiencing homelessness in La Plata County a dignified, safe, and comfortable space for a short period of time.

Originally intended for equatorial locations outside the United States, Architect Stuart Ohlson of HHI in Denver redesigned the house for colder climates. Maintaining the HHI PVC Tube framing, Ohlson is using structural insulated panels (SIPs) rather than a canvas or plastic membrane. The roof is designed to be made of galvanized steel insulated with SIPs and at a 1:1 pitch for reduction of snow loading.

Modified HHI PVC Tube & Insulated Panel Shelter
A galvanized steel roof modifies this image. This photo shows the existing version of the homeless shelter we are promoting.

Fort Lewis College engineering design & practice study will determine the integrity of the design for our region of Colorado, while offering visual observations of snow loading during Winter 2018. Community Compassion Outreach Program and Humanitarian House International joint venture is to offer the HHI House to the homeless population in La Plata County.

Instead of tents, the Fort Lewis College Engineering Department Collaborative with CCOP and HHI will provide options for a more dignified and safe transitional housing. Competing with Tiny Homes, the Collaborative offers separate sleep spaces with bunk beds in three (3) sizes of the HHI House.

The more substantial large HHI House will be built by students using simple hand tools and according to instructions provided by Ohlson, HHI’s architect. It measures approximately 178-square feet and sleeps six (6) people in three sleep spaces that holds bunk beds; and, the HHI House has room for living quarters, kitchenette, bath/shower. However, kitchen and bathroom appliances are not included.

SWShelter4Homeless Interior
Small (2 persons); Medium (4 persons); Large (6 persons).



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