Fort Lewis College Engineering Students & HHi House for the Homeless

Update: Monday, March 12, 2018

Trim with insect screens on windows. Plexiglas will be installed on another date.

Insect screens and trim were added to dress up the 178 Square Feet HHi House entrance. Starting March 12, 2018, engineering students will perform destructive testing on this model. By the middle of April, after testing is completed, a design report will be made available to Community Compassion Outreach and Humanitarian House International. The Fort Lewis College collaboration was funded by HHi Architect and Designer Stuart Ohlson of Denver.

Stay tuned…

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 – The HHi House is assembled, less furnishings. After Spring Break, engineering design students will begin destructive testing on the unit over a period of four weeks until the design study is complete. A report on the HHi House performance and any modifications is expected on April 20, 2018.
Fully assembled with insulated panels fabricated by Fort Lewis College engineering design students.

All panels installed, the back of the HHi House looks like this:

Back windows of HHi House
These cut outs serve as windows for lighting. Panels will be installed eventually.
Students and a hired helper pause a moment with Community Compassion Outreach Technical Director Steve Baukat.

Insulated foam panels are being fabricated to wrap the PVC Frame. The third tier of the frame is in place for Insulated Panels to be attached to walls and 10-Ft. ceiling. Galvanized metal roofing will be insulated. Due to some practice by students who have never worked on laminating the panels, delays were unavoidable. Extra boards were ordered and delivery made as we are filming this phase.

Humanitarian House International Details

Click the link below to go to Humanitarian HouseInernational Website—to learn more about the designer and his description of the 13’x13’ Structure.

HHI logo
Emergency Shelter / Long-Term Dwelling for Low-Income & People Experiencing Homelessness.

Insulated Flooring and PVC Tube Frame

Updated Friday, January 26, 2018, video by Donna Mae Baukat.

HHi House is awaiting insulated panels on walls and A-Frame corrugated roofing. Engineering students will be fabricating wall and ceiling panels with OSB and foam insulation for this mockup. When engineering analysis and construction of the HHi House are completed, Community Compassion Outreach of Durango Christian Church will prepare proposals for a planned unit development of HHi Houses in La Plata County, for “None-to-Low” barrier restrictions. Continuum of Care programs will be included in the proposal.

A Collaborative of Southwest Colorado is being formed to plan and manage a dignified and affordable temporary, transitional shelter for people in poverty and homelessness. The shelter we are offering is based upon the final design by Architect Stuart Ohlson and Fort Lewis College Engineering Design and Practice ENGR-315 junior class. On or before April 20, 2018, a FLC Design Report with Structural Engineering analysis will be submitted to us.

Volunteers—Steering Committee Forming

A Steering Committee is forming for the purpose of planning and managing a Village for the homeless in Durango, Colorado. We are considering the HHi House as a viable shelter in a community development for low-income workers and the Homeless. We invite anyone with a heart to help end homelessness to our steering committee.  Our first meeting is scheduled March 3, 2018 at Durango Christian Church Fellowship Hall (9:30AM-11:30AM). Contact Donna Mae for information.

Experimental Shelter for Homeless

The components of the HHi House which was built in Denver since 2015 has been disassembled, packed and loaded in a 5’x8’ trailer; and, it was driven to Fort Lewis College Engineering Department for the ENGR-315 class in Durango. Portable and recycled for third time, the HHi House for the Homeless is being introduced to Southwest Colorado.

HHi House Architect & Students
Architect Stuart Ohlson (background) instructs engineering students Natalie Lyon and Eli Dickinson at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO, on constructing the PVC tube framing for the HHi House.

HHi House homeless volunteer helps clear ground

Our organization is a program of Durango Christian Church in Southwest Colorado since January 2017. We are volunteers working with the community of private citizens, faith-base and other nonprofit groups to bring awareness of evidence-based solutions to end homelessness. For further information, please contact “Donna Mae” at (970) 236-2313 for further information.

RSVP Forum on Ending Homelessness

FREE ADMISSION – Public forum on ending homelessness is scheduled on February 17, 2018, 8:30AM to 4:30PM at the La Plata County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall. Learn from FLC Engineering Professor Don May of his class of juniors who are evaluating the HHi House and other homeless shelters some of the students will design.

Register at EVENTBRITE. Click HERE.

Lack of Beds in Shelters Creates Health Problems

A shelter like the HHi House could respond to the crises across the country where there are thousands of homeless people unable to find a bed in shelters. Click Here for the story.


SUCCESSFUL FIRST FORUM on Ending Homelessness!

Durango Christian Church hosted its first public forum ENDING HOMELESSNESS on Saturday, February 17, 2018.

Steering Committee Forming…

Scroll down. . .

KEYNOTE SPEAKER – Donald W. Burnes, PhD., of BURNES CENTER ON POVERTY AND HOMELESSNESS at the Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver.

Don is also a Scholar-in-Residence and an Adjunct Professor at the School. A local philanthropist concerned with the issues of homelessness and housing, he serves on the State Interagency Advisory Group on Homelessness for Governor Hickenlooper and served in a similar position for Governor Bill Ritter.

He was a member of Denver’s Road Home Commission and the Colorado Housing and Homelessness Funders Collaborative. He has served on the Adams County Blue Ribbon Commission to End Homelessness; he has chaired the Evaluation Committee of Denver’s Road Home and been on the Board of Directors of the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative. He has been part of the decade long process of conceptualizing, implementing, and evaluating Denver’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness.  

ENDING HOMELESSNESS: Why We Haven’t, How We Can is the title of the book Co-edited by Dr. Burnes and David DiLeo. Burnes will present brief history of homelessness with evidence-based practices to end homelessness, economic injustices, lack of affordable housing … with the EMPHASIS on HOW WE CAN End Homelessness.

Watch Interview—Can We End Homelessness? 

We are grateful for our sponsors!

FNB logo
Sponsor of Forum Ending Homelessness, February 17, 2018.
Sponsor of Forum Ending Homelessness, February 17, 2018.


Durango Christian Church is a 501(c)(3) Religious Organization located at 255 E. 11th St., Durango, CO 81301

Burnes Center on Poverty and Homelessness


Humanitarian House International

Thank you Volunteers and Forum Planning Committee Members! You helped us create a very informative event; and, mind boggling data of homelessness has brought new organizations to the goal of planning a Village for the Homeless in our area.

The following are YouTube videos played at the forum during breaks:


We are accepting volunteers for a Steering Committee. We are planning a village for the homeless in Durango, La Plata County in southwest Colorado. Please contact us if you have some hours to establish goals and educational material on Homelessness.


“Thirty-five percent of the homeless are not sheltered…”

Read More

Fort Lewis College Engineering Design & Practice Engr 315 Spring 2018.

Spring 2018 homeless shelter study course at Fort Lewis College


Read More

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).



HHI House for the Homeless (HHI House)

Shelter for the Homeless Collaborative of SW Colorado

In collaboration with Fort Lewis College (FLC) and Humanitarian House International (HHI) for a temporary and short-term Shelter for the Homeless—Community Compassion Outreach Program (CCOP), a Durango Christian Church initiative, is considering the HHI House for the Homeless (HHI House). The goal is to provide a dignified, safe shelter to prevent a person from living in the outdoors.

CCOP and HHI advocates for people in poverty and homelessness in and beyond La Plata County, Colorado, for adequate shelter. We believe this shelter is a viable solution for ending homelessness in the USA, while addressing affordable housing for 7.5 million individuals and families in Poverty (a single most cause of homelessness).

Mission Statement

Our mission is to assist individuals and families to survive and exit homelessness — One House At A Time!

Scope of Project

Shelter for the Homeless Collaborative SW Colorado is formed by advocates for determining structural and aesthetic criteria of a new temporary-and-short-term shelter for individuals and families of Homelessness and Poverty.

Humanitarian House International, a 501(c)(3) organization, provides refugee shelters in other countries. Partnering with HHI brings solutions and promises for our organization (CCO) to assist persons to survive homelessness.

Architect Stuart Ohlson designed the shelter for equatorial and warmer climates. When “Donna Mae” Baukat, executive director of CCOP, researched shelters for a proposed homeless camp in Durango, Colorado, Ohlson introduced the HHI House.

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

The HHI House will be studied by students of FLC Engineering Design and Practice class (Engr 315) and faculty, led by Don May, Ph.D., P.E., Professor of the Engineering Department.

On January 8, 2018, the Junior Class will commence design studies in the first half of the semester — in accordance with the requirements of CCOP for the project, and an expanded scope of HHI to satisfy the course curriculum of FLC. During the second half of the course, students will build and test the structure. Studies and evaluation will be conducted on the Fort Lewis College Campus in Durango, CO USA.

Goals and Future Plans

The purpose of this engineering study is to tap into the creative energy of the FLC engineering students to offer solutions in the form of temporary and short-term shelters, both locally and nationwide. On a Global level, the HHI House will respond to natural disasters and emergency shelter needs.

These shelters are intended for an organized, self-governed, democratic, safe ‘village’ — designed to bring dignity and pride to people who are trying to exit poverty and homelessness. CCOP has completed its research of successful villages for the homeless in various parts of the country.


Additionally, we are working to find innovative programs to benefit Durango’s homeless ‘villagers’ with human and health services, mentorship, and management oversight.

An organized, self-governed village for people experiencing homelessness is the only dignified solution to assist them toward self-sufficiency!

Donations for Materials Welcome!

This study project requires funds for materials of the building to be set up on the campus of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. The Shelter for the Homeless Collaborative of Southwest (SW) Colorado (SWShelter4Homeless) appreciate your support in kind and with your generous GIFT.

Please help us with your generous contribution to SWShelter4Homeless

Every dollar counts! Thank you!

Let your policy-makers know that you’ve found a solution to shelter the homeless and people in poverty in your community!

10 Unit Site Plan
Prototype Village for the Homeless is proposed for Durango, CO.